Missing the “Phu Thê” cake.
If you once had a chance to visit Đinh Bang village in Tu Son district, Bac Ninh province and did not taste the “Phu Thê” cake (the Vietnamese conjugal cake), it would be such a pity since you just missed an opportunity to enjoy one of a typical feature in Bắc Ninh’s culture.
“Phu Thê” cake is a kind of simple cake which is very soft, honeyed and sweet smelling. The origin of the cake has been passed from generation to generation and even the children in this traditional cake-making village can tell you the whole story about the story of the cake.
According to the legend, under King Ly dynasty, after the Tet holiday, people in Dinh Bang village used to use the products they had harvested to make “Su Sê” cake and sincerely offered the cakes to their ancestor.
Once, when King Ly Thanh Tong and his wife, Imperial Concubine Y Lan, came back to the village to worship King Ly Thai To and King Ly Thai Tông, villagers here had offered the “Su Sê” cake to the King and the Queen.
After tasting the cake as well as understanding thoroughly the human culture in that simple but delicious cake, King Ly Thanh Tong had decided that the cake should be a typical dish in the wedding day. From that day, it was called “Phu Thê”, which means conjugal relationship.
When you see a pair of “Phu Thê” cake, the very first impression would be the green of the phrynium leaves using to pack the cake, the color of home village. A red thread is lightly tied outside the green pack. The cake has a fresh yellow, the color getting from the fruit . The sticky rice using to make the cake is the rice harvested from the fields for sticky rice only, absolutely separated with the ordinary rice.
Mrs. Lua, the owner of the shop “Phu Thê Lụa Xuân”, one of the most famous brand name in Dinh Bang village told us: “The starch used to make the “Phu Thê” cake must be got from the sticky rice that was grown separately, not mixed with any ordinary rice. If not, the cake would lose its typical flavor”.
“Phu Thê” cake of Dinh Bang village is delicious because of the smooth starch from the best sticky rice, the refined taste from the green planed papaya, the stuffing which contains pea, lotus seed, planed copra, sesame, banana oil, all things mix together to create such a delicious taste for the cake.
The special flavor of “Phu Thê” cake would really penetrate our sense even when we just taste it once. However, we should not eat the cakes when they were just made. The best cake is the one that had been made the day before. After being made for 24 hours, the cake would be very delicious, soft but still crunchy when we eat.
“Phu Thê” cake of Dinh Bang village, with an eye-catching appearance and a special refined flavor, has become a traditional dish, which is simple but still very elegant, reminds people so much about the plentiful taste of the traditional cuisine.