The Corner

Re: Bang Chung

From a reader:

Jonah — My husband was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Every year at Tet they would get bang chung for a treat. They were starved all year, and they really appreciated the yearly bang chung. So the first year we were dating he took me to a Vietnamese restaurant at Tet and ordered bang chung for dessert, thinking he was giving me a nice oriental delicacy. It was the most repulsive thing I’d ever eaten. It’s glutinous rice, rolled around starchy bean paste, with some pig fat in the middle. The whole thing is boiled, probably for days. I don’t know why it’s called a dessert, because it’s not sweet. It’s almost tasteless, with a gluey consistency.