Labor-Intensive Vietnamese Cooking in a Summer Short on Labor

Banh Vietnamese Shop House, on the Upper West Side, lavishes unusual care and preparation on dishes rarely seen in New York.

Banh Mi and So Much More

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By Pete Wells

The Vietnamese rice cake known as banh chung is typically begun at least a day in advance, by soaking sticky rice in water. The next day, a large green leaf is spread with the successive layers that will make up the cake: some soaked rice, cooked mung beans, marinated pork and finally more rice. This is wrapped in the leaf and tied into a neat bundle that will be boiled as long as necessary; several hours is not unusual.

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