Filling for one, topping for another

If you love the filling of steamed egg custard buns, a common dim sum dish that is known as lai wang bao in Chinese, you should check out xoi cade – glutinous rice with the same custard as a topping – in Hồ Chí Minh City (HCMC).

Unlike bánh bao ca dé (Kaya bun – Vietnamese name for lai wang bao), which is available almost throughout the day and can be found in pushcarts that sell bánh bao– Vietnamese buns with a savory filling consisting of pork, mushrooms and eggs, xôi ca dé (Kaya sticky rice) is less prevalent.

In fact, it is only sold in pushcarts in and around Chợ Lớn (big market), the country’s biggest Chinatown area, and these only open late in the evening, typically.

Xôi ca dé, sticky rice topped with egg custard, is best eaten when it is hot or a little bit cold 

I recommend that you visit a pushcart located at the crossroads between Trần Phú and Nguyễn Tri Phương in District 5.

While many other pushcarts add more toppings like grated dried coconut flesh and ground peanuts, this anonymous one serves sticky rice simply with the custard topping made with coconut milk, eggs, wheat flour and sugar.

Lots of HCMC residents apparently favor the simplicity, because it is now one of the most crowded businesses of its kind.

The pushcart does not have stools or tables to serve its customers, so most of them order takeaways.

The sticky rice is placed on a banana leaf, topped with the custard filling, and the leaf folded into a pyramid and kept in place with a toothpick.

Xôi ca dé is best eaten when it is hot or a little bit cold.

Besides the trademark food, the pushcart also sells different kinds of rau câu (jelly) like with chocolate, coconut, eggs, and longan fruit flesh or Long yan rou that are usually used as herbs in Chinese medicine.

There is also an array of cakes like:

Bánh da lơn (steamed layer cake made from tapioca starch, rice flour, mashed mung bean, taro or durian, sugar, coconut milk and water)

and

Bánh khoai mì (made from grated cassava, sugar, coconut milk, and a small amount of salt).

If ever you feel like making a meal of desserts, you know where to go.

Xôi ca dé

In front of noodle shop Giai Ký at 451 Trần Phú Street, Ward 7, District 5

Open hours:

8 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Prices:

Xôi ca dé (VND12,000/serving)

Rau câu and cakes (VND4,000/piece)

By GIANG VŨ 

Source: Thanh Niên News

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