Despite being busy at work, Nguyen Thu Trang, 32, an accountant at a Hanoi-based garment company, went to a bakery after lunch to learn how to make moon cakes.
“Moon cakes, from low-priced ones made by small bakeries to fancy ones made by five-star hotels, are available in all corners of Hanoi, but I like making the cakes by myself,” she said, posting photos of 12 animal-shaped cakes she made.
She and two of her colleagues went to baking classes starting early last month.
They have a passion for soaking eggs with salt and filling roasted nuts and meat, lime leaf and liquor.
“I use my teacher’s recipe, but change it a little every time I make moon cakes to arrive at a recipe that is tastiest to me.”
Like Trang, many women, mostly white-collar workers, are learning to make moon cakes, which are eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on the 15th of the eighth lunar month. This year it falls on September 27.
Chat A Thinh, owner of a bakery on Hanoi’s Nguyen Huy Tu Street, said more than 100 women, mostly office workers and students, have registered to take part in his moon cake baking classes since early July. Each class lasts five-seven days.
Le Bang Tam, a clerk at Electricity of Vietnam, said she paid a fee of VND1 million (US$45.5) for such a class because she wants to make tasty cakes herself for her family to enjoy and give friends.
“I had to wait for over a month to attend a baking class because there were too many people registering for it,” she said.
After several lessons, she could make traditional moon cakes using various ingredients like bean paste, ham, chicken, salted egg yolks, and nuts, she said.
“It is of significance to gift relatives and friends moon cakes you yourself made,” Tam said, covering the thick filling in the cakes with a very thin crust.
Many others like Thai Thu Huong, a teacher from Dong Da District, do not go to classes but instead learn on the Internet.
She began making the cakes three years ago. In the beginning they were not delicious, but she kept tweaking her recipe and now they are so much better that she even sells them.
“I advertise my products on Facebook and Twitter. My customers are mainly friends and colleagues,” she said.
In recent days Huong has often been baking from 8 p.m. until midnight. Her sister helps her make the cakes, while her husband delivers them to customers.
“Because of the small volume, I only make a small profit. But making cakes is for pleasure; it helps reduce stress.”