An intoxicating aroma wafts out of a small banh cong (fried rice cake) shop on Nguyen Trai Street in the Mekong Delta’s Can Tho City.
57-year-old Le Thi Hong Nhan, says the shop
has been a community staple for the last 20
“My mother opened it after she moved here
from Soc Trang,” she said.
Nhan’s mother, who is now too old to run the
shop, brought the art of cong cake-making
from her home province where the treat
Cong cakes, comprised of rice flour,
soybeans, meat and shrimp, were first
created around a century ago in Soc Trang.
They quickly became a local specialty and a
favorite dish throughout the Mekong Delta.
Can Tho is now famous for the delicacy and
of the four cake shops in the city, Nhan
says hers is the most popular.
Each day from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., Nhan sells
over 300 cakes for VND7,000 (US$0.40) each.
“People like them very much even though they
are fattening food,” she said.
One regular customer, an
American-Vietnamese, buys at least four
cakes whenever he drops by, even though he’s
on a low-fat diet, Nhan added.
To make the cakes, Nhan pours a mixture of
rice flour, soybeans and water into a
Then she adds another layer of cooked beans
Another mixture of rice flour, soybeans and
water are added, finished with a dollop of
shrimp on the top.
Nhan then deep fries the cakes until they
give off a delicious, savory aroma and turn
Cong cakes are typically served with sauce
and herbs like basil and dill to balance the
rich flavors of the meat and beans.
Nhan’s Banh Cong shop is located at 6A
Nguyen Trai Street, An Hoi Ward, Ninh Kieu
District, Can Tho City.
From Ninh Kieu Wharf, turn right onto Nguyen
Trai Street – the shop is on the right of
the street, near the Can Tho City Power
Reported by Phuong Anh