Pressed Cake: A Typical Food In Hue To Find The Difference

You are traveling to Hue City, Vietnam, and want to find a typical local food. Hue Flavor will introduce you to the special one: the Pressed Cake (Banh Ep). 

You can find:

Now, let’s go to see the details below!

dry pressed cake

How is the pressed cake in Hue?

The pressed cake, which is called Bánh Ép in Vietnamese, is small and thin, but contains enough plasticity, chewy, sour, spicy, salty, sweet, fatty, fragrant enough to make anyone remember once. That is the typical pressed cake of Hue City, Vietnam.

The cake is made from the main ingredient of filter flour of tapioca. It sounds simple and popular, but to be able to transform into a cake that attracts people’s hearts is not simple.

pressed cake hue
The chewy pressed cake is so attractive. ©Hue Flavor

The filter powder selected for making pressed cakes must be new filter flour, which has been thoroughly kneaded so that the dough is nice white and limber, like glue in texture flexible, and does not have a sour taste.

Before being pressed, the dough is divided into small pellets in line with the pressing mold.

The chef will put on top of the dough a few pieces of chopped bacon, marinated with spices. The meat is chosen to make the pressed cake must be high in fat and low in lean meat so that when pressed, the fat in the meat flows out to make the cake delicious, and the piece of meat is not dry and hard.

The mold consists of two flat cast iron pans, which are attached to each other through a flexible coupling that can be folded and opened. Above each back of the pan, there is a round, large, long iron bar that is carefully welded to be used as a pressing hander.

How to make a pressed cake?

ingredients to make banh ep
The filling of pressed cakes usually has well-marinated pork, pate, dried beef, shrimp, and eggs. ©Hue Flavor

To make this pressed cake takes a lot of time and needs many tools and ingredients to do. So most of the locals come to small shops of Banh Ep to taste it and see how they make it.

  1. Before pressing the cake, people put the pressing mold on the fire for a long time to evenly heat the two sides of the cast iron pan.
  2. Next, the baker will brush the two sides of the pan with a thin layer of cooking oil.
  3. The dough ball is put in the middle of the press, using the force of your hand to squeeze the press so that the dough is pressed thinly and evenly across the face of the mold.
  4. After the dough is pressed thinly for about 20-30 seconds, the baker will open the mold again. At this point, the filter cake has become a relatively thin piece of cake and still has the white color of the dough. The fat in the bacon slice just started to flow all over the cake.
  5. The press continues to add on top of the cake, beaten eggs or quail eggs mixed with chopped scallions. In some places, the owner also adds a few fresh shrimps and a little pate to the cake to increase the delicious fatty flavor of the pressed cake.
  6. After adding the eggs, the cake mold will be covered and pressed more tightly than at the beginning to achieve the maximum thickness of the cake. The presser holds the mold for about 10 seconds, then flips the mold over so that the cake is cooked evenly on both sides.

Two types and ways to eat Hue pressed cakes

Hue pressed cake has two forms, dry pressed and plastic pressed (also called wet pressed one).

  • To have a wet cake, the presser only needs to hold the mold for another 10-15 seconds to have a soft, thin, clear, and sticky cake. Accompanying ingredients such as eggs, shrimp, and meat are thinly pressed with the just-cooked feature.
  • With dry pressed cake, the cake needs to be thicker, the pressing time is longer until it is dry, crispy, the dough turns ivory white. Ingredients such as scallions, meat, shrimp are also dried, turning yellow-brown on the surface of the cake.

Dried pressed cakes have a long storage time and are convenient to take away. When eating, the dry pressed cake is crispy and melts in the mouth, fragrant with the smell of onion. Rich flavor. Diners can dip the cake with spicy chili fish sauce or eat it directly.

On the contrary, soft pressed cake is delicious when it is still hot. Cakes, therefore, will be pressed when ordering.

wet pressed cake
A portion of the wet pressed cake consists of 4 cakes with vegetables and fish sauce. ©Hue Flavor

When eating wet pressed cakes, depending on each person’s preferences, add a few more laksa leaves, green papaya with sweet and sour carrots, and a few slices of cucumber. Some places even have salads for guests to eat. The cake is dipped with fish sauce mixed with spicy chili sauce.

Many Hue people believe that the fish sauce used to eat pressed cakes must be very spicy to be tasty.

When young Hue people eat pressed cake, they also add a little Tre (fermented pork) to the pressed cake roll. The spicy, mildly sour, fatty, and plump Tre of the pork skin is marinated and fermented thoroughly, making the cake even more delicious.

eating pressed cake
Fish sauce dipping pressed cakes must be very spicy. ©HueFlavor

Hue pressed cake looks so simple, but you will its taste where eating it. Biting the piece of cake is sticky, tough on the teeth but soft, greasy, fragrant. The taste of fresh laksa leaves blends with papaya, sweet and sour carrots. Add a little spiciness of chili. All make a perfect cake that fully awakens the taste of the eater.

Just that small cake is enough to make every Hue person, wherever they go, look forward to coming back to enjoy the simple pressed cake of their homeland.

If you have the opportunity to visit Hue once, you definitely do not forget to try this snack. A loveable snack for many generations of young people in Hue, surely it is enough to cause nostalgia for friends from all over the world.

Check famous addresses to taste Banh Ep Hue

The price of each Hue pressed cake is quite cheap, ranging from 2,000 VND to 3,000 VND per cake. Diners can also buy dried pressed cakes to take anywhere. Dried cakes are packed in plastic bags by the seller, with each bag of 10 cakes, priced from 20,000 to 30,000 VND.

banh ep address
One of tasty Banh Ep addresses to try when you are in Hue.

In Hue, there are many famous and delicious pressed cake shops such as:

  1. Gia Di pressed cake – 49 To Huu Street, Hue city. Open from 14:30pm – 21:00pm
  2. Sister Hue pressed cake – 116 Le Ngo Cat, Hue City. Open from 16:00pm – 19:30pm
  3. Shop 20 Nguyen Du pressed cakes – 20 Nguyen Du, Hue City. Open from 16:00pm – 22:00pm
  4. Cay Dua pressed cake shop – 73 Tung Thien Vuong, Hue City. Open from 14:30pm – 20:00pm
  5. Xi cake pressed – 107 Nhat Le, Hue city. Open from 9:00am – 22:00pm

Please try this delicious and cheap local food of Hue City when you come to the ancient capital of Vietnam! Just once and you will find yourself falling in love with this press cake.

About the author


Editor at HueFlavor is a15-year local guide, Mr. Ho Thom, who loves local food in Hue as well as in Vietnam. Trusted by hundreds of guests around the world.