Three specialties of Binh Dinh coconut land

binh dinh tourism, hoai nhon, pacify, tam quan, three specialties of binh dinh coconut land

BINH DINH – Rice paper, pink cake, rice cake … of Hoai Nhon people all have coconut milk, or coconut rice as ingredients.

From the yard to the edge of the dike, the coconut palms form a natural shield for the land of Tam Quan (Hoai Nhon town) from the sun, wind, storm… Coconut has become an indispensable part of life. Tam Quan people, maybe that’s why the people here keep the coconut flavor in every dish. From coconut rice paper, pink cake, little cake to banh chung…, more or less all ingredients are coconut milk, or coconut rice, so that the cake always smells of the homeland.

binh dinh tourism, hoai nhon, pacify, tam quan, three specialties of binh dinh coconut land

Coconut groves surround the lotus pond in Hoai Nhon. Photo: Quin Quin

Coconut milk cake

The main ingredient for making coconut water rice paper is flour. Noodles peeled, pureed into a powdered water mixture. Let the water settle for a while, then decant the upper part of the water, remove the powder below, continue to soak with water, settle and then decant. Keep doing this until the dough is free of residue and sour. The final settled powder is mixed with clean water in a certain ratio, mixed with some other ingredients to make cakes.

Coconut rice paper, of course, cannot be without coconut. Choose a coconut that is not too old but also not too young, at this time the copra will be sweet, thick, soft without callous. Mix grated coconut, thick coconut milk with some spices, onions, pepper… into flour water, that’s the batch of cake flour.

Previously, Tam Quan coconut rice paper was quite big. But later, for convenience of transportation and use, the size has been reduced, though still bigger and thicker than other types of rice paper, it needs to be baked to eat. On the charcoal stove with a small fire, the rice paper puffs up, slices of purple onion and ripe sesame bring up a fragrant aroma, mixed with the sweet coconut scent.

binh dinh tourism, hoai nhon, pacify, tam quan, three specialties of binh dinh coconut land

The rustic taste causes memory, so in the luggage bag leaving the hometown of Tam Quan people, it is often indispensable to have coconut rice paper as a gift. Photo: Viet An


No one in Bong Son does not know about banh chung, also known as Hon cake. Just three or four for a snack is a bad stomach. Compared to other types of cakes, banh chung is less well known, partly because it is more difficult to preserve. This is a type of cake that is cooked and eaten immediately, if left for a day, it will easily go stale.

The crust is made from whole wheat flour. Knead the dough thoroughly so that it is soft and does not stick to your hands. If it’s too doughy, the dough will melt, if it’s too dry, the cake will break. Take a little dough and roll it into a ball, add the filling and wrap it. The filling of banh chung is shredded coconut, black beans, onions, garlic, pepper, spices… Black beans have been stewed in advance until soft and then mixed with the rest of the ingredients to absorb. Then the cake is brought to boil or steam for about 10-15 minutes, when the crust turns clear.

Perhaps the name “banh chung” comes from this rustic processing, cooked by baking the cake. Then, take out the cake, brush the onion or shallot oil on top. This layer of oil is both fragrant and helps the cakes not to stick together.

Banh chung has a thin, almost transparent crust, slightly chewy thanks to the flour crust. The bean paste is both soft and fleshy, adding a light crunchy coconut piece mixed with other spices is very tasty.

binh dinh tourism, hoai nhon, pacify, tam quan, three specialties of binh dinh coconut land

Bong Son rice cake is salty, but the filling is still mixed with the sweetness of coconut and black beans. This is quite an interesting snack. Photo: Viet An

Pink cake

Speaking of specialties of Hoai Nhon land, it is definitely impossible to ignore pink cake. Pink cake is made from glutinous rice flour and shredded coconut. Choose a delicious type of sticky rice, it must be the king sticky rice, otherwise it is also the yellow flower sticky rice or the upland sticky rice. Wet glutinous rice flour is stuffed with a little water to make it flexible and then cooked in a pan of sugar water. This stage requires the cook to stir evenly and firmly so that the dough is not cooked or raw. When the dough is flexible, add the coconut that has been sugared from before and mix it together. When both the flour and coconut have become lumps and do not stick to the pan anymore, take them out, heat the dough on low heat until the dough is clear and shiny as desired.

It’s not over yet. The worker has to sprinkle some roasted tapioca flour on the mold, put the glutinous rice flour into the mold and press it down, and put a layer of tapioca on the outside to prevent the cake from sticking.

Pink cake cannot be left in large pieces but bitten because it will be easy to choke, and the outer layer of tapioca flour is also easy to smear. So wait for the cake to cool, cut into small squares and enjoy. Next to a cup of romantic tea, eat a piece of pink cake with the gentle scent of glutinous rice, the fat and lumpy aroma of coconut, both flexible and soft, to absorb the elegance and sophistication of this specialty.

binh dinh tourism, hoai nhon, pacify, tam quan, three specialties of binh dinh coconut land

The pink cake has been cut into pretty small pieces. Photo: Binh Dinh pink cake

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