Rice Cakes


Reading — Intermediate Level
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A rice cake may be any kind of food item made from rice that has been shaped, condensed, or otherwise combined into a single object that has also been sweetened. A wide variety of rice cakes exist in many different cultures in which rice is eaten, and are particularly prevalent in Asia. Common variations include cakes made with rice flour, those made from ground rice, and those made from whole grains of rice compressed together or combined with some other binding substance.

Cambodian rice cake is somewhat different than other countries‘ rice cakes because unlike the other countries’ rice cakes that are made with steamed rice, Cambodians make theirs with sticky rice. An example of this is 'Num Plae Ai Khmer' sticky rice balls with coconut topping. 'Ansom chek' is a banana leaf sticky rice cake. It is served all year long but it is most prevalent during 'Bun Pchum Ben' or "Ancestors' Day" festival. It is served either with a banana filling or pork fat strips and beans then they are wrapped with layers of banana leaf and steamed to perfection and then served 'Nian gao' (also 'niangao'; 'nin gou' in Cantonese), sometimes translated as "year cake" or "Chinese New Year's cake", is a food prepared from glutinous rice flour and consumed in Chinese cuisine. While it can be eaten all year round, traditionally it is most popular during Chinese New Year. It is considered good luck to eat 'nian gao' during this time, because 'nian gao' is a homonym for "higher year."

In Korea, it is customary to eat 'tteok guk' (tteok soup) on New Year's Day and sweet tteok at weddings and on birthdays. It is often considered a celebratory food and can range from rather elaborate versions or down to the plain-flavored tteok. Rice cakes are chosen for particular occasions depending on their color and the role they play in Korea's traditional yin-yang cosmology.

Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of 'mochigome', a short-grain japanese glutinous rice, and sometimes other ingredients such as water, sugar, and cornstarch. The rice is pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called 'mochitsuki'. While also eaten year-round, 'mochi' is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time.
Source: Wikipedia
  1. Which is NOT an ingredient in making rice cake?

  2. When is 'Nian gao' most popularly eaten?

  3. Which word means rice cake?

  4. How are rice cakes chosen in Korea?

  5. What is 'mochigome'?

  6. Where is 'Bun Pchum Ben' celebrated?

  7. What makes Cambodian rice cakes somehwat different?


Practice your writing skills by discussing the questions below

  1. Why is food an important part of one's culture?

  2. What is the most popular food in your country? How is it prepared?

  3. What kinds of food do you prepare during Christmas, New Years and Thanksgiving day?

  4. If you were a tour guide, what food would you recommend to people visiting your country? Why?

  5. Have you eaten rice cakes before? If yes, describe how they taste. If not, do you think you would like them? Why or why not?


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      • compressed or concentrated
      • the scientific study of the origin and structure of the universe
      • usually done in a particular situation or at a particular place or time
      • type of rice that is especially sticky when cooked; it is called glutinous in the sense of being glue-like or sticky, and not in the sense of containing gluten.
      • small white or brown grains that come from a southeast Asian plant and that are used for food
      • (served) to give (food or drink) to someone at a meal, in a restaurant, etc.


    From English
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