Banh it la gai is a rustic dish of Binh Dinh Province but also a culinary and cultural specialty. Diners who taste the sticky rice cake can never forget its delicious and sweet taste.
The sticky rice cake is typical in shape, color and taste. The cake is wrapped in green banana leaves and shaped like a sharp pyramid.
The selection of ingredients is important as it affects the quality of the cake. The ingredients are also easy to find, including green beans, grated coconut meat, granulated sugar, glutinous rice flour, fresh ginger, salt and cooking oil.
After being steamed, the banana leaves turn dark green, though the cake retains the same texture. When diners peel off the banana leaves, they may be amazed by the smooth, shiny black appearance of the cake and the sweet aroma that is hard to resist.
From the first bite, diners first taste the sweetness of granulated sugar, the buttery taste of the green beans, the fatty taste of the coconut, and the spicy taste of ginger. Each taste has a characteristic aroma and blends to form the unique flavor of Binh Dinh sticky rice cake.
In central Vietnam, especially Binh Dinh, the sticky rice cake is a dessert served at almost all celebrations, anniversaries and weddings. Nonetheless, the cake is often gifted to relatives and friends.