H’Mong round sticky rice cakes in northwest Vietnam

Giay (round sticky rice) cakes have long been an indispensable part of H’Mong cuisine in Vietnam’s northwestern region.

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The Kinh often make giay cakes for festive occasions like the Lunar New Year. Their round shape symbolizes heaven, based on a legend dating back thousands of years. Making giay cakes is a community activity that enhances unity.

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The H’Mong of northwestern Vietnam make giay cakes for their traditional new year festival, new rice festival, and going-to-the-field festival.

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The H’Mong also make the cakes for important family events and as a specialty to sell to tourists.

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The rice used to make giay cakes is harvested at the beginning of the season on terraced fields.

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The locals use banana leaves to wrap the cakes.

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Cake pounding is done using a mortar made from hardwood.

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Men are usually in charge of the physical demanding work of pounding, flipping, and smashing the sticky rice.

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Women are responsible for the remaining.

 
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H’Mong men are just as skillful as the women in cutting leaves to wrap the cakes.

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When pounded, the rice gets stickier.

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The cakes have the distinctive taste and scent of the northwestern region.

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Giay cakes play an important role in the life of the H’Mong living in the northwestern region.

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The rice harvested from terraced fields provides the distinctive flavor and aroma of the giay cakes of the H’Mong.

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Making giay cakes for festivals is one way the locals promote unity.

VOV

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