40 years old coconut cake cart in Ho Chi Minh City

HO CHI MINH CITY – Can’t wait until 10 am to open for sale, many people go directly to the house of owner Trang Vinh Phat in the early morning to buy coconut beefcake.

Inheriting from his brother-in-law, Mr. Trang Vinh Phat (60 years old, Chinese) has been baking coconut beefcakes to sell for 40 years. The ingredients for making coconut beefcake, also known as coconut cake for short, are quite simple, including flour, eggs, granulated sugar and various fillings.

After mixing the powder, Mr. Phat must beat the dough evenly within 15-20 minutes to make the dough smooth and consistent. This is one of the most important stages in determining the quality of the cake.

The second most important step is baking. The cake must be baked in a charcoal oven at a suitable temperature. The bakers must touch with their hands to check the heat of the mold before pouring the dough in. Phat’s fingertips are therefore also calloused. Each cake will be baked for about 1-2 minutes.

For 40 years, Mr. Phat did not change the taste of the cake much. He always tries to improve the quality of cakes by adding more eggs to the dough and adding different kinds of fillings.

Previously, Mr. Phat only sold traditional cakes with coconut filling. “Customers’ tastes change, the shop also has to diversify the types of cakes to meet the needs to retain customers,” Mr. Phat shared. Currently, the shop has pandan coconut beef cake and fillings such as ca dé (made from eggs, coconut milk, fresh milk, sugar), durian, peanut butter, buttermilk, and sugar butter.

Coconut cake can be stored at room temperature for more than 10 hours. Particularly, buttermilk and ca dé cakes can be left outside for less, about 8 hours. The price of the cake ranges from 40,000 to 50,000 VND per piece depending on the type of filling.

Every day, from 6 a.m., Mr. Phat bakes cakes at home, at 315 Nguyen Duy Street, Ward 10, District 8. After that, he brings the packaged finished products to 45 Tan Da, District 5 for sale. Sticking with this street corner for a long time, Mr. Phat took “Tan Da Coconut Cake” as the brand name. On the most popular day, he sold about 200 units. Not only retail, but he also accepts wholesale orders and delivers inter-provincial delivery to Dak Lak, Nha Trang… In those days, he, his wife and his children had to wake up at 2-3 o’clock to deliver the cake.

The days of staying up late and getting up so early are still not as hard as when Phat still had to go for a walk many years ago. “I remember, for a while, I was still pushing the cart to go around and sell it all over the place, advertising while walking. Going for a walk also had to have a time and place, such as when to go to school, and what time to stand at the intersection. At that time, it was sunny, I ran really hard. From time to time I still dream about those days, “he said. Later, when he had regular customers, Mr. Phat started selling at a fixed point at the corner of Tan Da Street.

After baking, the cake must be placed on a bamboo basket to drain and not be mushy.  Coconut beef cake is a snack in Chaozhou cuisine, China.  Photo: Nhu Quynh
After baking, the cake must be placed on a bamboo basket to drain and not become mushy. Coconut beefcake is a snack in Chaozhou cuisine, China. Photo: Nhu Quynh

At the age of 40 years, the pandan coconut beefcake cart has been associated with the childhood of many people, especially the people of districts 5 and 8. Nguyen Thi Thu Linh (35 years old, district 8) said: “The taste of cake It’s delicious, fragrant, fatty, I can’t eat it all the time. My husband is addicted, it’s frustrating to not eat for a day.”

As for “intrinsic customer” Luu Ngoc Manh Hieu (34 years old, district 1) has been eating Tan Da coconut beefcake for ten years. “Coconut cake is soft, spongy, and fragrant. I have always eaten the traditional kind of coconut filling. Coconut rice is quite delicious, not too sweet, and has a buttery aroma”, Manh Hieu shared while waiting for the cake.

Photo: Internet

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