Organic banh chung (square glutinous rice cake) sold in HCM City for the first time for Tet (Lunar New Year) has become very popular.
Tran Minh Hung, marketing director of Vinamit Joint Stock Company, said the cake was made by a group of young engineers at his company in Binh Duong.
“The cakes are made from organic sticky rice grown on a farm in Dak Nong and green beans and organic pork from Binh Duong. All the materials have international organic certificates.”
The company is selling the product at just VND100,000 (US$4.34), quite cheap compared to market prices.
On the morning of February 5, within just one hour, 50 banh chung were sold.
“We bring to the market a limited amount of banh chung this Tet and will only sell until February 9 to test the market. If demand is good, we will increase the output next year.”
Organic food distribution chain Organica is selling for the first time banh chung made from ingredients such as nep cai hoa vang (a unique variety of sticky rice mainly grown in the north), green beans and organic pork.
A company spokesperson said due to the limited availability of organic pork only a few hundred banh chung could be sold, and most of them have been booked by customers already.
A few remaining cakes to be made later would be frozen and vacuumed for selling to retail customers, she said.
The Organicfood system has also introduced banh chung with ingredients like organic Australian beef or organic salmon at respectively VND220,000 and VND250,000, while a traditional one costs VND210,000.
Many large businesses in the city have also bolstered production of banh chung and banh tet (cylindrical glutinous rice cake).
Saigon Food Joint Stock Company has launched various kinds of banh chung with fillings like green beans and pork, pork and salted eggs, roasted chicken and green beans, and shiitake mushrooms and lotus seeds.
Nguyen Thi Thu Trinh, the company’s deputy general director, said the cakes are made based on traditional recipes, and wrapped in multi-layer packaging before cooking.
They do not contain preservatives and are vacuum sealed, and so can be stored for three months at normal temperature, she said.
“Last year the company had to reject some last-minute orders because we could not make it. This year from December onwards we sent out quotes and received orders. This year we mainly made cakes based on customers’ orders and do not sell at retail stores or supermarkets.”
Tran Thanh Toan, owner of Tran Gia, which makes banh chung in the southern province of Dong Nai, said the Covid-19 pandemic has affected demand.
But thanks to signing contracts with supermarkets and stores since six months ago, he does not worry about selling his products.
“Tran Gia’s total output of banh chung for this Tet is 17 -18 per cent higher than last year,” he said.
But exports have significantly fallen due to difficulties in transporting goods between countries, he added. — VNS