Ant eggs - a specialty of early summer in Bac Kan

Surely many people will be very curious when they first hear the name of the specialty cake of Cao Bang, Bac Kan.

Ant eggs are one of the unique cakes of the Tay people in the Northeastern region of our country, on the side of Bac Kan and Cao Bang. The main ingredient to make this cake is ant eggs. This cake is usually made only at a certain time in the end of April and May every year because this is the time of the strongest growth of black forest ants. 

Ant eggs - a specialty of early summer in Bac Kan

The main ingredient for making ant eggs is the young egg of the ant. Photo: Tinker

As the name implies, the main ingredients for making ant eggs are the young eggs of the ants to make the cake, the sticky rice flour and the young leaves of the fig tree outside (a familiar tree in the northern high mountains). The ingredients and stages are not too picky, but if you want the cake to be delicious, it is also tricky to ask the baker.

To get young ant eggs, one must go to the forest to look for nests of good ants such as small black trunks, pointed tails, often nest on trees such as vines, cork or gloves. Ant eggs are usually as big as rice grains, have milky white color, body and round.

Ant eggs after cleaning will be fried on a pan with dry onions. Want more delicious people also add a little minced pork, small roasted peanuts and a little more Kiao leaves mixed. Part tubers also finely chopped, non-fragrant frying pan and then the ant eggs on the island together until cooked, then north down.

The cake is made from upland glutinous rice, big and flexible seeds, treated and then soaked in cold water overnight, then drained, ground into flour and molded with water. After making the dough very soft and smooth, the glutinous rice flour will be rolled thinly about half an inch wide, about the size of a hand-sized square, and then put the piece of glutinous rice flour into a fig leaf, sprinkled over the cake dough, finally is to put the next fig leaf on the surface of the cake, wrapping the leaves so that the bread and the kernel are wrapped completely without being exposed to the outside. Steamed buns are steamed for about 45 to 50 minutes.

Ant eggs - a specialty of early summer in Bac Kan

Not all ant eggs are chosen. People only look for black, big ants to nest on tree branches, high cliffs, to avoid ants living on the ground because they are not clean. Photo: Knowledge

To make the cake more beautiful, when nine people often cut into small pieces and display the plate square. Fig leaves are used to wrap cakes so take young leaves, when eating will always eat fig leaves, feeling cool, beneficial in clearing the heat for humans.

Ant custard can be eaten hot or cold freely, with this type of cake, you can eat anytime it has its own delicious taste. Consumers always feel the elasticity of glutinous rice, the soft taste of fig leaves, and especially the greasy fatty taste of the cake made from ant eggs.

As a typical national dish, the material is also very rustic. If you have the opportunity to come to Bac Kan or Cao Bang between April and May, do not forget to try once enjoying this strange but very interesting cake.