Sour shrimp rolls are a cross between royal cuisine and rustic street food. Therefore, the ancients said that this cake clearly shows the characteristics of Hue cuisine: small, sophisticated and full of philosophy.
The dish on the king’s table
Perhaps it is also because of the influence of royal cuisine that for the people of the Ancient Capital, whether main dishes or side dishes, street food or luxury restaurants are meticulously prepared and presented, showing with the ingenuity and care of the cook in each dish.
Most of the food in Hue is usually small and pretty, not too big, not too much. Visitors from other places coming, enjoying Hue food for the first time often wonder why the food and drink in this poetic land are small and the presentation is meticulous. into a wonderfully perfect taste.
Explain that through the judgment of writer Nguyen Tuan in his lifetime, Hue people like to eat with their eyes. But even though they mobilize all their senses for the absorption of nutrients, the Hue people only want to “eat incense and get flowers”.
With wet cake rolls with sour shrimp – a dish modified from the original wet cake cleverly combined with sour shrimp, boiled meat, green vegetables, spring rolls, spring rolls… Pick up a beautiful cake like a poem, then slowly reward it. Enjoy the penetrating taste of sour shrimp, the fat of the potato sauce and the fresh, crispy vermicelli of the green morning glory… All of which create the charm of Hue people in their daily eating habits.
It seems that this “noble” dish is gradually falling into oblivion in the subconscious of young Hue people. However, in recent years, thanks to the development of social networks and newspapers, this cake has become close to many people.
For Hue people, the image of mother Huynh Thi Hanh (76 years old) with her back bent and holding a cake for a living is no longer strange. In the past, my mother used to go shopping around the streets, causing gourmets to have to find and wait to enjoy. Only a few years ago, did she find a permanent position on the sidewalk of Phan Dinh Phung Street (Hue City).
Cake “lost” on the sidewalk of the ancient capital
My mother’s small shop simply has a table large enough to display all the ingredients, around a dozen small chairs for guests to sit and eat. These utensils are all prepared by the children for her to sit and sell for convenience, but in the past she just sat in a small corner, in front of her were 2 pieces of cake and a few wooden sticks, sometimes when guests came to eat, they had to squat. because there is not enough room.
Making a living in the middle of the street is quite hard work because in the dry season it is so hot that it burns, and in the rainy season it is so cold. Perhaps that’s why in modern times, in Hue, only Mother Hanh is left selling on the sidewalk a cake that was once blessed by the Nguyen kings.
“In the past, my mother went to sell kumquats, went to Phan Dinh Phung and then Nguyen Hue, since last year, I haven’t sat here until now.” Me Hanh recounts the hardships and difficulties of having to carry the burden of carrying and selling every day.
Me Hanh said, the ingredients for this dish are very simple, anyone can do it, just a meticulous and patient way. Wet cakes are carefully and meticulously wrapped. If the package is too tight, the crust will tear, but if it is loose, the filling inside will be disjointed and not beautiful.
The filling has fresh vermicelli, water spinach sprouts, and cut sweet potatoes. Each cake is neatly rolled, cut into small round pieces. Quietly, Mom picked up sour shrimp vermicelli mixed with carrots and papaya and then placed it on each slice of cake, put a few slices of bacon and spring rolls, spread it around, and added a little sweet potato sauce. out for guests.
Me Hanh still keeps the old way of selling with cakes wrapped in banana leaves to take away very simply. In the last few years, my mother’s small load has become known to many people, people often buy many pieces at once, so they also ask her to put the cake in a box for easy carrying and preservation. However, for long-time patrons, she will still wrap the cake with banana leaves as a way to preserve the simplicity of a time.
Nguyen Minh – a young Gen Z from Hue, a foodie and a lover of street food, shared: “I know about the cake with sour shrimp rolls through social networks, newspapers and through friends. The cake. This is very special because it is sold along the river, when eating here, you can enjoy the scenery of the river and people rushing on the road because of work, or returning home after work. A plate of cakes with spring rolls, spring rolls, and sour shrimps are all rustic and rustic dishes of Hue.
A few decades ago, wet and sour shrimp rolls were sold quite a lot, but in modern times it is quite rare. If you want to enjoy, you have to go to the shops specializing in the famous Hue cakes, but if you want to eat like the ancient capital, you have to go to the sidewalks to feel the full flavor and scenery of this dream place.