15 February 2006

Ba'nh Da Lo+.n (Thousand-Layer Cake)

My mom is a great cook and makes many excellent Vietnamese or Chinese dishes and sweets. She has a sweet tooth herself and likes to make her own things. One of her favorite is ba'nh da lo+.n, a kind of desert. As the picture may reveals, there are many layers making up the cake, thus the Chinese name, when transliterated to English, is thousand-layer cake. I supposed five-layer cake or three-layer cake just don't have the same ring, only "thousand" will do. It takes much time to make the cake, as layers are steamed one at a time. The result of putting ingredients together is some sort of liquid. The liquid is poured into a mold and steamed until it's solidified. Next the next layer is poured onto the bottom layer and the whole thing is steamed again, on and on until the mold can no longer take any more layers, or my mom decides there are enough layers. I think it's steaming that's involved here - one thing I haven't learned in life is how to cook. Mom likes to give the cakes to friends and hear praises, not undeserveredly. People have told her that the cake look beautiful, too good to eat, have a nice texture to them. I encouraged her to sell them as special order, but she hasn't agreed to it. It does take lots of time, so to recuperate the time she would have to charge something for it. There would always be someone who would complain that it costs too much, no matter how good or how beautiful it is, and that's enough to discourage my mom.

This particular cake is in the shape of a fish because mom made it for the Lunar New Year. In the Chinese language, "fish" sounds like "having extra" or "having more than enough", or "prosperous".

What do you think?

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