|The ginger 'jam'
Kim Long ward is the only place in the ancient capital city that retains the profession of making ginger "jam" in the last days of the lunar calendar.
The famous Kim Long Ginger Jam in Hue has a distinct spicy flavor. The ginger can neither be too old because the final product will not have a smooth texture, nor can it be too young, because it will not have the needed pungency.
First, the ginger is peeled and sliced. Thin ginger slices are soaked in cold water with squeezed lemon juice for about 30 minutes to clean them, and then mixed with sugar.
The ginger is then cooked in sugar syrup on wood fires for about an hour till the slices become firmer and the sugar is neatly wrapped around each slice.
To make this happen, the mixture has to be continuously stirred with chopsticks, so that it does not get burnt.
The ginger jam then proceeds to a tray where it is cooled. Here, the jam-maker uses thin bamboo sticks to separate the ginger slices as they can easily stick together when hot.
What makes the Kim Long ginger jam special is that every step is done by hand, and it has no other ingredient except ginger and sugar – no additive is used. Regular buyers love the Kim Long ginger jam for its pure spicy-sweet flavor.
Currently, the Kim Long Ward has about 20 households making the ginger jam in the most traditional way.
Besides serving locals during the Tet holiday, Kim Long ginger jam is also ordered year-round by dealers from cities across central Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City.