Mung bean cookies are delicious little snacks that you can find only in Hoi An. Each cookie has an intricate oriental pattern pressed into it. They’re sweet and a little bit salty, and a great snack. These cookies are more difficult to make than you may think because the process has many steps.
How mung bean cookies are made:
First, the mung beans are soaked in water for at least 2 hours in order to remove the shell. After this step, the beans are boiled for 1 hour and then mashed up with a mixture of sugar and salt. This is the hardest step, since it has to be mixed by a giant mortar & petsle for 2 or 3 hours by hand. Typically, the men of the family do this because it’s very difficult and takes a lot of strength.
After the mixture is ready, it is cooked slowly over a low heat for 1 hour, and once again must be stirred the entire time! This part of the process dries the mixture and turns it into a bean powder. The next step is pressing this powder into a small metal cookie “printer”. You’ll never guess what ingredient is mixed in with this little cookie…pork fat! This pre-cooked pork fat is mixed in to add an extra flavour and texture. If you’re vegetarian, there’s square versions of this cookie that skip the pork fat step.
Once they have thousands of these little cookies, they are dried in the sun then baked on a homemade oven for 1-2 hours. They’re packed in batches of 20 cookies, and sold for around 15,000VND (less than 50 cents USD!). The family seen in the photos make around 6,000-7,000 special cookies a day, which keeps them very busy.
Want to try making these tasty treats yourself? Join our Rural Villages Experience in Hoi An to give it a go!