Hue’s wet-cake rolls are a favorite with gastronomes around the country for their aroma and the taste of their grilled meat and dipping sauce.
Famed as a cuisine hotspot for both its imperial cuisine and the contemporary creativity of its street foods, ancient town Hue has much to offer. The wet-cake roll, filled with grilled pork and Thai basil and eaten dipped in fish sauce or soybean sauce, stands out both as a main dish and a snack for a mere VND18,000 ($0.77) a serving.
Wet-cake rolls on Kim Long Street in Hue, the former imperial town in central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Vi Yen.
Made from a mixture of rice and cassava flour, the cake has a silky white texture and is slightly thicker than its Hanoi and Saigon cousins.
It is always made fresh when a customer orders, and so always comes steaming hot.
The smoky aroma of the grilled pork differs from stall to stall. It comes from the meat’s seasoning, which typically includes black pepper, salt, shallots, garlic, five-spice powders, and sesame.
After marinating the meat for a few hours, the chef grills it little by little throughout the day to ensure that every customer can enjoy freshly grilled meat. The meat and a few leaves of aromatic Thai basil are stuffed in the batter and steamed in bite-size rolls.
Customers can eat it with either specially made fish sauce or thick soybean sauce with a few slices of chili and garlic.
In Hue, wet-cake rolls and mixed rice noodles are frequently served at the same eatery. Photo by ryanfoodaholic.
The eateries usually serve wet-cake rolls along with bowls of rice noodles mixed with grilled pork and fresh vegetables, a delicious amalgam of pungency from chilies, sweetness of fine sugar and slight sourness of lime. A bowl of such noodles costs VND25,000 – 35,000 ($1.1 – 1.5).