There was a time when every family tried to improve their "financial situation" by setting up a very small business at home, so making "bánh phục linh" and selling right in front of their house was one of the options. This tapioca cake doesn't require baking oven or any special ingredients, what we need to do is to roast the flour together with fresh pandan leaves until the leaves dried and then we add sirup together with coconut milk, mould it into many shapes - either flowers, animals shape. And it would be the most interesting thing to me and to many other kids - moulding.
The tapioca cake is very fresh, tasty due to the coconut milk, flavourful with pandan leaves, when we bite it - the cake is melted in our mouth and gives a fresh cold feeling in our tongue.
Few days ago I got a box of bánh phục linh in the supermarket, it was a nice packaging. I actually saw it quite sometime ago and thought how can they pack because we can't keep this cake for long due to the coconut milk, three days is max. Yesterday I got the box and checked it at home: the cake have been dried, a bit hard, when I bit it I don't feel the softness and the cold that I used to it in my childhood. So, it's quite hard for the maker to keep the freshness that the cake is famous for.
In Vietnam we have a large variety of traditional cakes that I love and dream to make them more familiar to the tourists as Japanese and Thai do quite well to promote their sweets to the outsiders. I love to see those colourful, flavourful small sweets in the underground in the supermarket in Ginza, those fresh mochi or sweets filled with different beans, unique rice crackers with different tastes...or in the top floor at The Emporium in Bangkok. In Saigon we only can find it somewhere else in the street...