Many families of Vietnamese countryside use many kinds of sauce for their daily meals. Soy sauce is one of that many sauce types. And when it comes to soy sauce, Ban sauce is no doubt one of the most stand-out. Ban sauce is produced in Ban Township, Yen Nhan District, Hung Yen Province.
Many of Vietnamese folk poems have been describing Ban sauce as an indispensable part of rural life. It is not only an important food, but also has spiritual meaning
(“Em đi trăm quán ngàn cầu
Hải vị cũng thuộc, sơn hào cũng quen
Mà sao em vẫn cứ thèm
Đĩa rau muống luộc, lại thêm tương Bần”)
Ban sauce is made from soybean, which is very popular. However, the producing stages are extremely meticulous and time-consuming. It takes at least 2 months for any new batch of sauce, but it could take longer if the weather is not very sunny. To attain delicious and well colored sauce, the producers have to be experienced, having a trick or two up their sleeves.
The first steep of the producing procedure is soaking and cooking sticky rice. The water used for soaking the rice must be from clay wells (or wells built from laterite stones). After being cooked, the cooked rice will be fermented with longan leaves for 2 days and nights till yellow mold appears. Soy is then roasted with sand, peeled and soaked in terracotta jars for 7-10 days until the soy’s color switches from yellow to red.
In the second step, the fermented rice (after 2 days fermenting) is carefully mashed. Then mixed with the water in the terracotta jars from step one. Leave the mixture for one day and night so we can have more molds. After that, we put the collected molds together with refined salt into the color-switched soy jars. These jars will be well mixed and basked. When the sauce turns honey-brown, sweet, more liquefied with soft rice; it is now finished.
Ban sauce is the perfect dipping sauce to dishes like: “banh duc”, “banh te”, salted fish, boiled meat,… The sauce is also used for tofu, meat,…
The sauce bears spiritual and communal value. It brings out a refreshing taste of all the dishes that used with it. Its mild flavor is mainly the reason for its popularity to the people of Hung Yen.