As Tet draws near, Trang Cat villagers enter their main harvesting season of dong leaves (Stachyphrynium placentarium) – used as a wrapping for various food items in Vietnamese cuisine, especially chung cake (glutinous rice cake) – the traditional and indispensable Vietnamese dish during Tet.
Ms. Huong , a Trang Cat local, said that this year, the green leaves have enjoyed quite a good season and have the best quality and colour, so the price is slightly higher than average, ranging from VND700-1,000 per leaf.
To supply the market in a timely manner, Trang Cat locals often have to begin cutting the leaves half a month before Tet. Traders will come to buy and then distribute them to other provinces and cities.
"Trang Cat dong leaves are very popular for their beautiful natural colour, as well as long, soft, big and round leaves. Wrapping banh chung with these leaves will give an eye-catching green colour to the cake. When boiled, it will also create a soft attractive aroma," Huong shared.
Immediately after being harvested from the garden, dong leaves are gathered and bundled up, with 40 to 50 leaves per bunch.
“Normally, we take them home to wash off the dust before the shipment,” said Phuong, a villager.
The leaves are classified and washed carefully before being delivered to traders.
The large and beautiful leaves are arranged separately and sold at a higher price.
Traders come to Trang Cat to buy dong leaves.
"Dong leaves here are famous throughout the country. Every year I go to Trang Cat Village to choose the leaves myself. If you choose beautiful round leaves, the selling price will be higher than usual," said Mr. Binh, a trader.
Right from the middle of the last lunar month, many have visited local markets to buy dong leaves to wrap banh chung for Tet.
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