Mon, 05 May 2014. Last updated Thu, 25 Jun 2015 08:42
National Geographic is a USA travel magazine popular around the world which has been published continuously since its first issue in 1988. It primarily contains article on geography, history and culture of nations. Nowadays, National Geographic Magazine is one of the most famous traveler magazines with a global circulation of 8.3 million in thirty-six languages.
National Geographic has recently released a list of 10 world’s celebration food which honors traditional foods in festivals of countries across the world. Chung Cake and Giay Cake of Vietnamese have entered the list as figurative food of Tet holiday (Vietnamese Lunar New Year festival). The popular magazine has stated that Tet is the most important festival in Vietnam which marks the arrival of spring and a new year with several expectations and hopes. It is also the occasion that Vietnamese families reunite and gather surrounding the feast.
Chung cake and Giay Cake play an essential part in Vietnamese history. Accordingly, King Hung VI chose the next king by asking his princes to offer him a dish. The throne would be given to who could satisfy him. The 18th prince whose name was Lang Lieu offered the King Chung cake and Giay Cake. He explained that both cakes were made from rice, which was the main product in Vietnam at that time. Chung cake had the shape of square and symbolized the Earth; Giay Cake had the shape of circle and represented the sky. Impressed by the flavor of cakes and the prince’s speech, the King had decided to give throne to Lang Lieu prince. Since then, Chung cake and Giay Cake have become the most important traditional food of Vietnamese.
Chung cake and Giay Cake are traditional cakes of Vietnamese cuisine to show descendants’ deep gratitude for the ancestors and the Goddess. Chung cake has the squared shape and green color which symbolize the Earth. Ingredients for making Chung cake are sticky rice, green peas, pork and Phrynium or banana leaves. The cake has the greasy taste of and pork, pleasant scent of leaves and soft flavor of sticky rice. The process to make Giay Cake is complicated as well. There are two different kinds of Giay Cake: one has sweet green bean paste inside and the other has salty stuffing with ingredients mainly pork pies. In addition to Tet holiday, those cakes are also prepared in special occasions such as Hung Kings’ death anniversary and important occasions of clans.
Other celebration foods also enter the list include: Bread of the Dead from Mexico’s Day of the Dead, Hákarl from Iceland’s Thorrablót (Mid-Winter Festival), Moon Cakes from China’s Mid-Autumn Festival, Hamantaschen from Israel, King Cake from Mardi Gras, Besan Burfi from India’s Diwali, Kahk Cake from Egypt, Haggis from Scotland, and cakes for the May Revolutionary Day in Argentina.