Dry Pancake Village Banh Da Ke

Dry Pancake Village Banh Da Ke

Dinh Ke, Bac Giang, Vietnam
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Ke Dry Pancake Village is situated in Dinh Ke commune, Bac Giang city, about two hour drive from Hanoi. There are six out of ten hamlets in Dinh Ke where people make dry cake or Banh da Ke. The dry cake (or banh da) made in Ke village has special flavor, which is distinct from other types of dry cake nationwide.

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Ke Dry Pancake Village is situated in Dinh Ke commune, Bac Giang city, about two hour drive from Hanoi. There are six out of ten hamlets in Dinh Ke where people make dry cake or Banh da Ke. The dry cake (or banh da) made in Ke village has special flavor, which is distinct from other types of dry cake nationwide.

People of the dry pancake village make banh da around the year especially when they have finish their farming work. Initially, making banh da was just a part time job, then it has gradually become a main craft of many families. They have gained benefits and passion from this kind of simple gift of the countryside.

Banh da Ke is a traditional product, which appeared a long time ago. Dry cake making process of Ke people is thought to be simple at a glance but in fact, it requires carefulness and skillfulness. Main ingredient to make Banh da Ke is rice which must be good type of rice and harvested for a long time so that its resin can be transferred into another substance melt into white rice.

Rice has to be cleaned softly so that its bran is still maintained. Then, rice will be dipped into ceramic bowls until it has sour taste and becomes bloated, then it will be picked out to be grinded. Nowadays, rice is grinded by machine instead of stone mortar which is much easier than before. Rice must be grinded carefully in clean water into white and smooth flour. Some people cook rice before grinding with uncooked one to make banh da soft enough.

After grinding rice into flour, craftsmen start to make cakes by spreading flour on hot surface to have thin layers. Banh da Ke is spread twice to ensure thickness of the cake.

After the cake is cooked, it is picked out carefully to avoid being torn or out of shape. The makers use a long and big tube of bamboo to put on one part of the cake, softly roll it a half round, then carefully put it down a bamboo grid and pick it out.

Before drying the cakes, people cover one face of the cake with uncooked sesame and punched peanut. This process also requires carefulness and skill to spread out sesame on the cake surface with a thicker layer in the middle of the cake.

Banh da is put on flat bamboo grids which are bigger than the cake size. When one face of the cake is almost dry, it must be picked up so that it is not stick to the grid and broken, then it is continued being dried. After being dried, the cake will be carefully protected. In the past, the cake used to be put in cool and high places to avoid getting wet; now it is often put in tight nylon bags.

Banh da Ke also goes through another process – grilling before being finished. This final process is rather complicated requiring skill and experience. Banh da is grilled on a bowl of burnt wooden coals. The maker has to hold cake in one hand and hold the bamboo tape fan in the other hand. She has to fan smoothly and constantly while rapidly turning over the cake. At that moment, the cake spreads out sweet smelling. The cake is often grilled by the female who are flexible and skillful. Cake grilling requires concentration and experience to have a good quality dry cake. A good dry cake must be bloated with fine yellow color and decorated with black sesame.

Banh da (dry cake) has a buttery taste, crisp and sweet smelling. As enjoying dry cake, we can feel the taste of our home village which is so precious. The taste of Banh da Ke is taste of our home land made by efforts of our ancestors which will be everlasting.

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