Longan cakes is traditional local food in Hai Hau District, Nam Dinh Province. Although it is rustic fromits look to the flavor, the dish is well-known.
The local dish called longan cake is not because it is made from longan, but because it looks like longan. To make the cake, a cook needs to prepare glutinous rice flour, egg, sugar and pork lard. The flour of choice should be from nep cai hoa vang (yellow flowered glutinous rice) which is arguably the best of its kind locally.
Preparations take time. Every step from preparing dough to frying little dough balls must be taken care of. The ratio of flour to egg determines the crispness and evenness of these cakes.
The pork lard used to fry the dough balls gives the crunchiness and eye-catching look of the yellow cakes. After the main ingredients are mixed, they are shaped into small balls. They are then fried in a hot pan on low heat. In the end, the crispy balls are covered with a thin layer of sugar. These cakes are often eaten together with a cup of hot green tea.
Dong Cuong is among the villages in Hai Hau which produce the best longan cakes. They are sold as gifts at many stores in the village.
Diners will first be served thin sheets of steamed rice cake and many plates of fillings such as grilled meat, herbs and pickles.