‘Lua dua’ - the specialty cake made by Hmong people in Nghe An

Dao Tho - 30/12/2023 11:21
(Baonghean.vn) - As Tet approaches, the Hmong people in Nghe An province begin making "lua dua". These sticky cakes made by this community are primarily used for family consumption and are also indispensable items in some ancestral worshipping rituals.
The Hmong community in Nghe An mainly resides in the high mountainous regions of districts like Ky Son, Tuong Duong and Que Phong. This ethnic group still preserves many distinctive cultural features, from traditional clothing, festivals, funeral ceremonies, weddings, to culinary practices. Photo: Dao Tho
After the harvest season, nearing Tet, every Hmong household in Son Ha village (Ta Ca commune, Ky Son district) begins to make sticky rice cakes. These cakes hold a deep-rooted cultural significance in the culinary traditions of the Hmong people from ancient times to the present day. The glutinous rice used is soaked in water for 5-6 hours before being steamed. Photo: Dao Tho
According to Ms. Lau May Hua from Son Ha village, she and other households in the village have started making these cakes for nearly a month now. "The Hmong people call this cake “lua dua” and it has to be wrapped in “dong” or banana leaves. During Tet, “lua dua” is an indispensable dish in Hmong villages" - Ms. Lau May Hua said. Photo: Dao Tho
After the rice has been steamed, it is poured onto a thick wooden tray for pounding. Photo: Dao Tho
The pounding process is the most labor-intensive stage in making the cakes. It requires physically strong individuals to continuously pound the rice with a heavy wooden pestle until it becomes compact and sticky. Photo: Dao Tho
It takes about 20 minutes of pounding to ensure the rice becomes white and sticky. Photo: Dao Tho
"Each kilogram of rice can make 5-10 cakes, depending on their size. During Tet, some Hmong lineages use these cakes for ancestral worship, with the largest cake placed at the bottom, a smaller one in the middle, and the smallest one on top" - Mr. Mua Ba Vu from Son Ha village shared. Photo: Dao Tho
To prevent the dough from sticking to their hands while shaping the cakes, the Hmong people boil an egg and rub the yolk on the palms of their hands. Photo: Dao Tho
The Hmong people's cakes may have a simple appearance, yet their preparation is meticulous. They can be grilled or fried, but the final product must guarantee whiteness, fragrance and elasticity. These cakes are offerings that the Hmong people present to their ancestors during festivals and Tet, with the hope for a year of favorable weather, lush vegetation and abundant health. Photo: Dao Tho
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