For người Bắc 54, food is not simply a source of nourishment; it is also a way to preserve the culture of the land they had to leave. The Saigonese people who love sweetness surely know the Hiển Khánh gruel shop (which is on Nguyễn Đình Chiểu street, District 3), owned by Mr. Nguyễn Quý Quyền and Mrs. Trần Nghệ since 1959.
They were originally from Hải Dương province, and Hiển Khánh is the name of the village in the hometown of Mrs. Trần Nghệ. Hiển Khánh shop is famous for its jelly in gruels, such as white jelly, green bean jelly, and so on. These dishes always have subtle jasmine scents because the refined sugar gruel is cooked with jasmine flowers.
Besides sweet gruel, the shop also sells cake specialties from the Province of Hải Dương: green bean cake, black glutinous rice cake, conjugal cake, and the rest. Each cake has its own poem created by the customers who are actually the students from Gia Long School and Petrus Ký School and who come regularly for the cake and sweet gruel. For example, there is a poem about the conjugal cake on the wall:
Eating the cake makes one married
Making the descendants of Lac Hong
[the ancient ancestors of the Vietnamese] love each other
Being Vietnamese people from Friendship
Pass to Ca Mau Peninsular
Eat the cake if you guys love each other
Jointly respect parents and practice filial piety
Making the conjugal relationship be praised everywhere
*Photo: From the Internet
*Source: Sài Gòn- Gìn vàng giữ ngọc 2