Learn about Banh Chung Tet in Vietnam

Learn about Banh Chung Tet in Vietnam

Only a few days left until the traditional Vietnam Lunar New Year 2020. Tet holiday or Vietnamese Lunar New Year is the most significant festival in Vietnam. As a result of being calculated by the lunar calendar, Tet often occurs at the end of January, which is later than the New Year’s Day.

As the longest public holidays in Vietnam, Tet is the most wonderful time for all foreign tourists to spend their vacation in Vietnam enjoying the festive atmosphere and exploring one of the oldest holidays in the world. Tet holiday 2020 is on January 25th, 2020 (New Year Eve is the previous day).

tet holiday vietnamese lunar new year
Tet holiday Vietnamese lunar new year

Let’s learn about the tradition of Vietnamese banh chung

A – The Story of Banh Chung

Banh Chung is a very popular dish in Vietnam. It mainly consists of sticky rice, green peas, and pork. However, it is very seasonal, Vietnamese mainly eat it during the most important festival of the year: The Tet festival, which is the Vietnamese name for Lunar New Year. For this reason, the dish is called Banh Tet in the central and southern Vietnamese provinces. But it’s more than just a popular and traditional dish. There is a very interesting story behind Banh Chung, which everyone in Vietnam knows from childhood on.

The legend says that after a great victory over his enemies of the Shang Dynasty in the 17th century BC, the King of the 6th Hung dynasty could not decide which of his 18 sons should be his successor. For this reason, he gave his sons one year time to prepare the best dish he’s ever eaten in his life. The son who serves him the best dish should become his successor. Seventeen of his sons started to travel the world searching for the greatest dish that exists. Only the 18th son named Lang Lieu stayed at home. He was the poorest of all sons and did not have the opportunity to travel as his brothers did. Neither could he afford all the luxury ingredients they used. So he focused on the local ingredients to create a new dish for his father.

Banh Chung of Vietnam
Banh Chung of Vietnam

The Banh Chưng and Banh Dày. Both are made of the same ingredients, Banh Chung is in the shape of a square to symbolize the earth; Banh Day is round and symbolizes the sky. The sticky rice gets stuffed with fatty pork and peas, brought in and wrapped. The dish gets seasoned with salt, pepper and Nuoc Mam, the traditional Vietnamese fish sauce. The cake then gets wrapped in banana leaves. It’s kept in shape by bamboo stripes before it gets cooked. When the big day came and the contest came to an end the young prince served this dish to his father. The King was impressed by its taste by only using local ingredients, which also shows great respect to the culture and the ancestors. None of the other dishes could compete with the Banh Chung made by Lang Lieu. He was later crowned King and found his way in the history books not only as of the inventor of Banh Chung but also as the founder of the 7th Hung Dynasty, which ruled over the country for the following 200 years. During the Tet festival, Banh Chung is the traditional dish in every family. Although it’s possible to buy it on every corner in this time of the year, most families prepare the dish themselves. And now that you know the story of Banh Chong give it a try yourself, here is the recipe:


Glutinous Rice, Green peas, Fatty pork, Salt, Black pepper, Nouc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce), Banana Leaves, and Bamboo stripes


The rice gets soaked in water for 12 hours, the peas for 2. Slice the pork in big pieces and season it with salt, pepper and Nuoc Mam.

Now you start building the cake in layers: Start with bamboo stripes and the cleaned banana leaves as base. On the Banana leaves you put a layer of rice in the middle. Now come the pork and the beans in the center of the rice layer before a second layer of rice covers them. Bring it in shape of a square, wrap it up in the banana leaves and tie it up with the bamboo stripes. Cook it in boiling water until also the pork in the inside is done.


The cake gets served with room temperature, untie the bamboo stripes and unwrap the banana leaves. The outside of the rice now is green from the banana leaves. Traditionally the cake gets cut in 8 pieces. Try it yourself and let us know how it was! Best you eat it on New Years Eve and/or New Years Day of the Lunar New Year (2020: 7th / 8th of February).

B – Banh Chung TET 2020 in Vietnam

In today’s feast to welcome spring, the squarish green banh chung reminds us the legend rice cake symbolizes thick conception of the universe of the ancient Vietnamese.

Festival couplets characterize traditional “fat meat, pickled onions, red couplets. Trees Miraculous, green cake” had accompanied many generations of people Vietnam we each spring.

Chung cake made from glutinous rice raw material, green beans, pork and wrapped in leaves line … Cake made in the traditional Lunar New Year of the Vietnamese people and on the first day of lunar March 10 (anniversary Hung king).

Those who experienced the Tet old (40-50 years of the last century) often miss the traditional New Year cakes with selected distilled from grain sticky gaudy yellow flower, green beans, from leaf dong to the bamboo stalks.

For those who experienced the Tet in the war, and even the remaining years of the subsidy period, pot pie recall their distillation unforgettable memories a difficult time, lacking.

Today, for the young people born in the second half of the 80s of XX century, continue cooking banh chung Tet seems only a formality. 9X live in big cities do not seem to get the feel tingle Eve gathered around the pot warm earth cake with family.

Currently, rice cakes for the New Year are bought in supermarkets, shops or via service providers. In the countryside, taste Tet still feel somewhat over pot banh chung Tet.

The atmosphere on New Year’s now no longer see the scene of her sister busy Tet days, yet the line washing, soak rice or treat any park, scene kids eager faces watching cakes parents, young and old scenes baby looks big pot sit overnight banh chung, outdoor cold frost, chilly air did not drown out around the fire warm pink.

For many generations, banh chung is the joy of the New Year reunion, reunion. The beautiful cake, thick, square the edges are dedicated to the display table ancestor worship, small cake package for children as the first gift …

The tradition is still there, but it seemed there was little left intact, tools to cook banh chung today in some places, there is room to be replaced with a pressure cooker or fire station. Anyway, New Year, spring, photos of banh chung still remind each of us of the value of traditional ethnic …

Nowadays, these materials banh chung same: still sticky rice, green beans, meat, leaves line. Cake’d get good ingredients prepared very carefully, thoroughly soaked rice treat, green beans cooked to furniture, including lean meat, packaging, grease, enough spice marinated, boiled right package to new gear finishing green.

For pie beautiful square, “nine ren” is at right package “passed in rice, rice in leaf” hand tight package, no need to press the cake was to be a long, piece of cake after the park’s cut, lean always balance in all parts. Tet and photos of the green cake was traditional beauty Vietnamese ethnic culture.
Through-shaped rice cake thick, can not help but think of the meaning of the word “round square” in our language.

Derived from the original concept of birth, our ancestors were smart choice byproducts two symbol used in the worship of heaven and earth, he thought she was referring to blend the two form “hollow” and “special”, “square” and “round”.

Although various subjects like “heaven” and “earth”, “man” and “woman”, we can and must work together under the perhaps “heaven and earth all things sexual maturity” as god’s teachings for Lang Lieu.

“Probably round square,” which tell the good of the spouses and meaning in relationships like Nguyen Du’s poems: “A square circle sacred know or not?”, Or the “square the circle Hundred years / Right probe until the source river creek “.

Banh chung Tet or Tet reminiscent reminiscent of the Earth Cakes? Perhaps, the blend that has become a cultural symbol of ethnic Vietnamese – Banh chung Tet represents.

Thus, in all, the New Year is the memory of people and have proof bread. Therefore, preparations Earth Cakes whenever Tet was a beautiful cultural traditions of Vietnam.

Today’s modern life but have busier, more affluent, the deep cultural traditions of banh chung Tet still needed leave to young people.

Should, banh chung Tet open package, in addition to the traditional culinary sense to increase protection of cultural heritage to cherish and preserve for future generations.

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