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Vietnamese rice cake: 17 delightful delicacies you must try at least once

28/06/2023 7.692

In this article, you can dive into the enticing realm of Vietnamese cuisine with our feature on the mouthwatering Vietnamese rice cake, where we explore its history, ingredients, and irresistible taste that captivates food lovers worldwide.

Vietnamese rice cake

Vietnamese rice cake is not only a delicious culinary delight but also carries a rich and enduring history and cultural significance spanning centuries in Vietnam. This delicious dessert brings back memories of family gatherings, lively festive celebrations, and the cultural traditions of the Vietnamese people. In recent years, innovative twists on Vietnamese rice cake have emerged, showcasing the adaptability and creativity of Vietnamese cuisine while honoring its cultural significance.

1. Banh beo - Vietnamese steamed rice cake

Banh Beo, a beloved dish in the Central and Southern provinces, has emerged as a captivating element of the local culinary heritage. The cake is typically made from steamed rice flour and served with various toppings and dipping sauces.

The cake’s filling is diverse, depending on the region, with different fillings such as ground peanuts and minced shrimp; all have their own distinctive and enticing flavors, captivating diners with their uniqueness.

Vietnamese rice cake

2. Banh Chung - Vietnamese square sticky rice cake

Banh Chung or Chung cake symbolizes harmony between heaven and earth, representing the aspirations of the Vietnamese for a prosperous new year. It is essential on ancestral altars during traditional festivities, embodying cultural heritage and ancestor veneration. This traditional Vietnamese rice cake is made from sticky rice, pork, mung beans, shallots, pepper, and Dong leaves. Creating a perfect Banh Chung may appear deceptively simple, but it demands extensive time and meticulous effort.

Vietnamese rice cake

3. Banh Gio - Vietnamese steamed rice cake with minced pork and mushrooms

Banh Gio, a humble and affordable dish found easily at every street corner in Vietnam, evokes profound homesickness in those far away. This flavorful delicacy is crafted from a blend of rice flour and a hint of glutinous rice flour. Its filling comprises a delightful combination of pork, mushrooms, dried shallots, pepper, salt, and other ingredients.

>>> Read more: TOP 15 must-try Vietnamese rice noodles for an explosion of flavors

4. Banh Tro/ Banh Gio - Vietnamese rice cake with herbal ash

As a unique variation of Vietnamese rice cake, Banh Tro is made from glutinous rice soaked in ash water. To get the fragrant ash liquid, people must burn clean straw, pour the ash into a basin, add a little lime to make the water deposit, and filter the water.

Meanwhile, the glutinous rice is washed, soaked in the ash water for about 3-4 hours and strained. The banana leaves are washed and steamed to make them soft and clean. 

Vietnamese rice cake

5. Banh Tet - Vietnamese cylindrical sticky rice cake

During the Lunar New Year in southern Vietnam, Banh Tet is a must-have item on the ancestral altar. This Vietnamese specialty symbolizes family love, homeland, country, and the desire for a prosperous and abundant life. The simple and easily accessible ingredients for Banh Tet include glutinous rice, green beans, pork belly, spices, and banana leaves.

Vietnamese rice cake

6. Banh Nam - Vietnamese flat steamed rice cake

Banh Nam, a traditional delicacy, offers a captivating and unforgettable culinary adventure for tourists. This Vietnamese rice cake has a delicious aroma and a smooth texture with a hint of shrimp flavor, making it appealing to people of all ages. If you are familiar with Banh Beo and Banh Bot Loc, you should definitely not miss out on Banh Nam.

>>> Check out: Vietnamese sticky rice (Xoi): A great choice for your quick breakfast

7. Banh Bot Chien - Vietnamese fried rice cake with eggs

Fried rice cake is the most straightforward variation of Vietnamese rice cake, yet it is equally delicious and enticing. With basic ingredients such as rice flour and eggs, you can easily embark on preparing crispy and flavorful fried rice cakes in your kitchen. It is a delightful and unique snack to enjoy with your family on rainy afternoons.

8. Banh Xeo - Vietnamese crispy rice cake 

Among foreign tourists, Banh Xeo is the most famous type of Vietnamese rice cake, thanks to its delightful flavor and captivating appearance. The combination of crispy edges and soft, savory fillings creates a harmonious balance that makes it a favorite street food across Vietnam.

Vietnamese rice cake

9. Banh Giay - Vietnamese glutinous rice sandwich

Banh Giay holds symbolic significance in ancient Vietnamese culture, symbolizing the sky through its round shape and white color. This unique delicacy combines pounded glutinous rice wrapped in fragrant banana leaves to create a distinct and enchanting flavor that truly embodies the essence of Vietnamese cuisine.

>>> Explore Vietnamese fried rice: TOP 7 one-pan recipes for lazy weekday cooking

Vietnamese rice cake

10. Banh Com - Vietnamese green sticky rice cake

Standing out among many famous variations of Vietnamese rice cakes, green sticky rice is a countryside gift that evokes childhood memories for Hanoi natives. The intricate process of making Banh Com creates a distinctive flavor that sets it apart from other cakes, making it a renowned specialty desired by visitors to the capital city.

11. Banh It Nhan Dua - Vietnamese sticky rice cake with coconut filling

Banh It is a traditional Vietnamese rice cake made from glutinous rice flour and filled with coconut. In Vietnamese cuisine, Banh It is cherished for its cultural significance and delectable flavors. These small, handcrafted rice cakes are often prepared during special occasions and family gatherings, symbolizing unity, abundance, and ancestral reverence.

Vietnamese rice cake

12. Banh Duc La Dua - Vietnamese pandan rice cake

If you have ever traveled to the Mekong Delta region in Vietnam, you must have come across the appealing and enticing pandan jelly cake. Banh Duc La Dua, wrapped in aromatic pandan leaves, is a lovely treat that captures the essence of Vietnamese cuisine. The soft, gelatinous texture and the refreshing taste of pandan leaves create a delightful and satisfying dessert.

>>> Check out: Vietnamese broken rice: A special dish to try on your trip

13. Banh Te - A must-try Vietnamese rice cake

Banh Te, like other rustic specialties, embodies the simplicity and communal spirit of traditional Vietnamese village life. Peeling off the green leaves reveals a pristine white cake, exuding the inviting aroma of savory meat filling. The cake is best enjoyed hot, dipped in delicious fish sauce and a touch of pepper for enhanced flavor.

Vietnamese rice cake

14. Banh Gai - Vietnamese rice cake with ramie leaf 

Banh Gai is a traditional sweet cake in Vietnam, originating from the Northeastern region. It is made with ramie leaves, mung beans, and glutinous rice. This square-shaped cake has a black color from the leaves and offers a sweet, nutty, and fragrant taste. It is a special Vietnamese delicacy often given as a gift to honor loved ones.

15. Banh It Tran - Vietnamese sticky rice dumplings 

This delicacy consists of a delicate, translucent rice dough enveloping a savory filling, creating a perfect harmony of textures and flavors. The rice dough, made from glutinous rice flour, is skillfully shaped into small discs, resembling dumplings, before being steamed to achieve a soft and slightly chewy texture. The filling can vary but commonly includes a mixture of minced pork, mushrooms, and shallots, seasoned with fish sauce and black pepper. Each bite offers a burst of umami flavors, complemented by the freshness of herbs like cilantro and the subtle crunch of fried shallots on top.

>>> Let’s discover Vietnamese food: The TOP 10 must-try dishes in 2023

16. Banh To - Vietnamese glutinous rice cake with brown sugar

Banh To Quang Nam is one of the captivating and unique specialties that contribute to the culinary reputation of Central Vietnam, enticing any visitor who has the opportunity to explore this region. The cake is made from two main ingredients: glutinous rice and sugar. However, in order to achieve the perfect balance of chewiness and softness, along with a subtle sweetness instead of overwhelming sweetness, the initial ingredients are carefully and meticulously selected by the local people.

Vietnamese rice cake

17. Banh Dum - Vietnamese rice cake with shrimp and vegetables

Made from popular ingredients such as rice flour and tapioca starch, it is filled with small shrimp or freshwater prawns, ground pork, and vegetables. The mixture is then wrapped in thin, round, dumpling-shaped cakes. It is typically served with fresh vegetables and a sweet and sour fish sauce. Despite its humble origins, Banh Dum has captured the hearts of the people in the Mekong Delta region and has become a nostalgic delicacy for anyone who is far away from home.

Besides, there are many other must-try Vietnamese dishes that showcase the rich and diverse flavors of Vietnamese cuisine. Some notable options include Vietnamese fish cake, Vietnamese bread,  Vietnamese summer rolls, Pho rolls, Vietnamese spring rolls, Vietnamese salad, Vietnamese noodles, etc. These dishes will take you on a delightful culinary journey, enhancing your overall experience of Vietnam travel.

Besides, Vietnam offers multiple extraordinary attractions waiting to be discovered. Within its plethora of renowned destinations, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, Ha Long Bay are absolute must-visit locations that should not be overlooked.

For a complete and enriching travel experience, you can choose Vinpearl as your accommodation. Located in prime locations, the Vinpearl’s hotels and resorts are the perfect retreat, offering top-notch services along with luxurious dining options, a spa, a gym, and a swimming pool.

Vietnamese rice cake


Vietnamese rice cake

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Vietnamese rice cakes, with their rich history, diverse varieties, and delectable flavors, hold a special place in the heart of Vietnamese cuisine. Whether it is the delicate texture of Banh Chung, the enticing aroma of Banh Beo, or the unique fillings of Banh It Tran, these traditional delicacies showcase the ingenuity and culinary artistry of the Vietnamese people. Each bite of a Vietnamese rice cake transports you to a world of cultural heritage and culinary delight, leaving a lasting impression and an appreciation for the country's gastronomic traditions. 

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