Phu The cake: An eternal symbol of love of husbands and wives

Have you ever been to a traditional Vietnamese wedding and happened to see a couple of small cakes wrapped in an attractive layer of green leaves?

Well, everything has its own story and with the wedding season vibe in the air, today’s story is about Phu The cake – one of the symbolic specialties of Vietnamese wedding culture.

Phu The cake: An eternal symbol of love of husbands and wives

In my experience, there are ways to increase one’s enjoyment of a dish beyond just tasting it, and Phu The is no exception. Understanding the meaning and story behind a delicious specialty can actually help improve the taste by stimulating the imagination.

There are various tales about the cake. A legend says King Ly Anh Tong (1136 - 1175) was leading his army on the battlefield amidst a brutal war, he received a box holding a nearly decorated cake made by the Queen. The gift touched the king’s heart, so he named it Phu The (husband and wife) to honour the love of every married Vietnamese couple.

In another version, it was said that a village festival held in the Do Temple in Bac Ninh province welcomed a visit from King Ly Thanh Tong and his wife. The local people presented a special gift to honour the presence of the King and the Queen. Delighted by the tasty flavour, the King inquired about the chef behind the masterful cake. After knowing it was made by a young married couple, he gave the cake its name to immortalise their creation.

Whatever version is true, it comes down to a noble meaning – the wholehearted love of husband and wife stretching throughout Vietnamese history. Its values are still shining, with two cakes going together as a pair in every traditional wedding to symbolise the attachment of a married couple.

In Dinh Bang ward, Bac Ninh province, where the very first Phu The cakes were created hundreds of years ago, every family was busily preparing ingredients to produce their best cakes to meet their long lists of orders.

Although each family’s cake has its own recipe and unique flavour, we could recognise many familiar ingredients such as sticky rice flour, green beans, dried papayas, coconuts and banana leaves.

 

The family of Nguyen Ky Kiem has been making the dish for generations. Kiem’s wife and dozens of other family members are extremely busy during this time of the year producing and serving some of the best cakes in the area.

“The production of these cakes is an achievement that requires hard work and dedication from the whole family, so we see the cake as a family symbol, not only just a means of living,” said Kiem. “Because of the very long order list from customers, everyone has to be involved. Each member has a specific duty from washing the banana leaves to kneading flour, selecting the finest pieces of bean or cutting the coconuts and papayas. We work like a machine; each of us is a link in the chain, each one is equally important and has to work perfectly with the others.”

Kiem said the uniqueness of Dinh Bang cakes lies in the blend between the outer layer and the core of the cake. In order to create such a delicious cake, they use a special kind of sticky rice of the north.

After a week, the shape is finally formed. The final step is to mix in white sugar, papaya and other additives like banana oil, vanilla and fruit juice. The additives are kneaded meticulously into the mixture in certain proportions. The core is made of green beans, cooked and blended with white sugar and coconut milk. Finally, the delicious cakes are ready to serve.

The secret of the perfect amber layer lies in the gardenia fruit. After being dried and soaked with rice, it will fade and change the colour of the rice. That’s how the cakes from Bac Ninh get the unique flavour that makes them among the best in Vietnam.

VNA

 
 

Other News

.
nCoV forces match venue change for two Vietnamese clubs at AFC Cup
nCoV forces match venue change for two Vietnamese clubs at AFC Cup
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  06/02/2020 

he Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has just changed match venues of two Vietnamese clubs at the upcoming 2020 AFC Cup in the face of the acute respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (nCoV).

Workshop on zine publication
Workshop on zine publication
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  07/02/2020 

Everyone is invited to join a workshop on DIY zine publication, organised by the Vincom Centre for Contemporary Art (VCCA) and the cultural space QUA. on Sunday.

Saigon Heat lose to Mono Vampire at ABL
Saigon Heat lose to Mono Vampire at ABL
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  06/02/2020 

Saigon Heat lost to Mono Vampire of Thailand 87-95 in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) at the GSB Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi, Thailand on Tuesday.

Hanoi re-opens relic sites, tourist attractions
Hanoi re-opens relic sites, tourist attractions
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  06/02/2020 

Historical relics and tourist attractions in Hanoi re-opened on Thursday after being temporarily closed to prevent the spread of the acute respiratory illness caused by coronavirus.

Tokyo 2020: Olympic organisers 'seriously concerned' by coronavirus spread
Tokyo 2020: Olympic organisers 'seriously concerned' by coronavirus spread
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  06/02/2020 

Olympic organisers are "seriously concerned" about the spread of coronavirus and the impact it could have on the Tokyo Games.

Workshops on upcycling clothes in Hanoi
Workshops on upcycling clothes in Hanoi
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  06/02/2020 

Consocia Arts and Crafts Workshops in Hanoi will organize a series of workshops on upcycling old clothes every Saturday, from February 8 until mid-July.

HCMC launches music and theater contest
HCMC launches music and theater contest
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  06/02/2020 

The HCMC government has launched a music and theater contest in celebration of the 45th Reunification Day, April 30.

Japanese pianist Kobayashi Aimi to perform in Hanoi
Japanese pianist Kobayashi Aimi to perform in Hanoi
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  07/02/2020 

Japanese piano soloist Kobayashi Aimi will perform in the Season Opening Gala Concert 2020, which will take place at the Hanoi Opera House on Wednesday, February 12.

Fine arts students showcase silk paintings
Fine arts students showcase silk paintings
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  06/02/2020 

Students of the Vietnam Fine Arts University are showcasing their silk paintings at an exhibition at AGOhub studio in Hanoi.

VN ready to face Myanmar in Tokyo 2020 Olympics’ qualification
VN ready to face Myanmar in Tokyo 2020 Olympics’ qualification
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  06/02/2020 

The Vietnamese women’s football team are ready to face Myanmar at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020’s third qualifying round in the Republic of Korea on February 6.

Czech-Vietnamese encyclopaedia wins Dictionary of the Year award
Czech-Vietnamese encyclopaedia wins Dictionary of the Year award
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  06/02/2020 

The six-volume Czech-Vietnamese encyclopaedia has won the “Dictionary of the Year 2020” award of the Union of Interpreters and Translators (JTP).

Olympic qualifiers: Door wide-open for Vietnam to advance further
Olympic qualifiers: Door wide-open for Vietnam to advance further
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  05/02/2020 

Vietnam stand a great chance to advance to the last qualification round for the 2020 Olympics women’s football tournament after the Republic of Korea (RoK) clinched a  7-0 victory over Myanmar on February 3.

Pianist Luu Hong Quang: Homeland – An integral part of the heart
Pianist Luu Hong Quang: Homeland – An integral part of the heart
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  06/02/2020 

Although busy with his training schedule and performing abroad, Luu Hong Quang stills spend the time to return to Vietnam each year because he believes that the homeland is an inseparable part of his heart. 

Established artist goes outside his comfort zone to draw women
Established artist goes outside his comfort zone to draw women
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  06/02/2020 

Artist Pham Huy Thong's open studio last month displayed paintings he made in 2019. The event drew many visitors to come viewing his new work.

Photo book about Communist Party of Vietnam released
Photo book about Communist Party of Vietnam released
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  05/02/2020 

A photo book featuring the Communist Party of Vietnam has been released to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Party on February 3, 1930-2020.

Fair Play Awards ceremony cancelled
Fair Play Awards ceremony cancelled
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  05/02/2020 

Organisers of the Fair Play Award 2019 announced on Monday their ceremony planned for February 12 will be postponed because of the outbreak of coronavirus.

Grandmaster Chieu passes away after spectacular vovinam life
Grandmaster Chieu passes away after spectacular vovinam life
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  05/02/2020 

Việt Võ Đạo (vovinam) martial art grandmaster Nguyen Van Chieu passed away early yesterday morning aged 71, leaving behind an incredible legacy in the sport.

Bafta Awards 2020: Joaquin Phoenix praised for calling out 'systemic racism'
Bafta Awards 2020: Joaquin Phoenix praised for calling out 'systemic racism'
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  05/02/2020 

Viola Davis and director Lulu Wang are among those to applaud the actor for his acceptance speech.

Coronavirus stuffs up coach Park Hang-seo's plans
Coronavirus stuffs up coach Park Hang-seo's plans
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  05/02/2020 

Head coach Park Hang-seo will have some hard decisions to make ahead of the national team's next World Cup qualifier against Malaysia due to the spread of the deadly new coronavirus.

Colombian reality show to film in 22 Vietnamese locations
Colombian reality show to film in 22 Vietnamese locations
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  05/02/2020 

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has allowed a production team for a Colombian reality show titled “Asia Express” to shoot in 22 provinces and cities in Vietnam’s northern region this year.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN