When embarking on a Vietnam travel adventure, exploring the vibrant world of Vietnamese food is an absolute must. Among the culinary treasures waiting to be discovered, Vietnamese cakes stand out as delightful confections that showcase the country’s culinary prowess. Below are the 20 most popular Vietnamese cakes that will take your taste buds on an unforgettable journey.
1. Banh chung – the most famous traditional Vietnamese cake
Banh chung, or Vietnamese chung cake, is one of the traditional Vietnamese foods during the Lunar New Year. It symbolizes the harmony between heaven and earth, representing Vietnamese people’s aspirations for a prosperous new year. Made with delicious ingredients such as sticky rice, pork, mung beans, and pepper, it undergoes a meticulous wrapping and boiling process, resulting in a fragrant and delectable dish. The soft and chewy outer layer complements the savory fillings, making it an indispensable dish during the Tet holiday. This Vietnamese Tet cake reflects the cultural heritage, family togetherness, and reverence for ancestors.
2. Banh tet – Vietnamese cylindrical sticky rice cake
If banh chung represents the Tet holiday in the northern region of Vietnam, banh tet represents that in the southern region. This Vietnamese rice cake is cylindrical in shape, symbolizing family love and the desire for a prosperous life. The traditional ingredients used to make this Vietnamese cake are generally similar to banh chung. However, it uses banana leaves instead of dong leaves for wrapping. Additionally, this Vietnam sticky rice cake comes in various fillings, both savory with meat and sweet with bananas, offering a wide range of flavors to explore.
3. Banh chuoi – Vietnam banana cake
Bananas are a common fruit in Vietnam, and to make the most of them, the locals have created the delicious Vietnamese banana cake. This Vietnamese fruit cake typically consists of sliced bananas and a creamy mixture of condensed milk, sugar, and coconut milk. It is then steamed or baked to create a sweet, creamy, and irresistible treat. Banh chuoi can also be served with vanilla ice cream or drizzled with caramel to make delightful variations that will satisfy every palate.
4. Banh gio – one of the tastiest Vietnamese cakes
Banh gio is a simple snack that can be easily found on every street corner in Vietnam. The soft and doughy outer layer combines with a sweet and savory filling of minced pork and wood ear mushrooms, creating an unforgettable flavor. On a chilly day, enjoying a warm banh gio with pickled vegetables, chili sauce, and Vietnamese sausage will surely warm your stomach and heart.
5. Banh phu the – a Vietnamese symbol for love
Banh phu the, or husband and wife cake in Vietnam, is a traditional Vietnamese jelly cake often seen at wedding feasts. True to its name, this Vietnamese cake is a Vietnamese symbol for love, happiness, and prosperity for newlyweds. The cake has a delightfully crispy and chewy texture, complemented by a sweet mung bean filling and strands of coconut. Its vibrant colors derived from natural ingredients will make a lasting impression at first glance.
6. Banh cam – Vietnamese orange cake
Banh cam is a familiar Vietnamese cake that is often sold outside school gates. These round adorable treats are made from glutinous and regular rice flour, deep-fried to a crispy perfection. Inside, they are filled with a deliciously creamy mung bean paste that exudes a delightful aroma. This Vietnamese cake is typically coated with sesame seeds or a layer of caramelized sugar on the outside, adding to its sweet flavor.
7. Banh da lon – Vietnamese layer cake
Banh da lon is a Vietnamese traditional cake often enjoyed at morning markets in the Southern region. This Vietnamese cake is crafted from tapioca starch, mung beans, pandan leaves, and more. What makes this treat unique is that you can peel off and savor each layer of the cake with friends amidst the bustling atmosphere of the market.
8. Banh tai heo – a favorite Vietnamese cake of many ages
Banh tai heo is a favorite childhood snack for many. These crispy round treats with cute pig’s ear-like shapes are made from simple ingredients like wheat flour, eggs, and sugar. They are fried to a golden crispness and boast a subtle sweetness. They are conveniently pocket-sized and perfect for snacking while watching movies or socializing with friends.
9. Banh bo nuong – Vietnamese honeycomb cake
Banh bo nuong, or Vietnamese honeycomb cake, is a type of Vietnamese pandan cake. It is one of the most iconic cakes in Vietnamese cuisine. This Vietnamese cake is made from rice flour, yeast, coconut milk, and flavored with pandan leaves or brown sugar. Then, it is carefully baked to achieve its characteristic honeycomb-like structure. You can dip banh bo nuong into coconut milk for a richer flavor or enjoy it with tea if you prefer a lighter taste.
10. Banh pia – Vietnamese durian cake
Vietnamese pia cake actually originated from the mooncakes in Chaozhou. The original pia cake had pork and green beans as the filling, with multiple thin layers of pastry. Nowadays, it comes in various flavors such as durian, red bean, and sesame. This Vietnamese cake is considered a famous specialty of Soc Trang Province, often seen in significant celebrations in the region. You can try or buy it as one of the iconic Vietnamese food souvenirs.
11. Banh dau xanh – Vietnamese mung bean cake
Vietnamese mung bean cake is a traditional cake in Vietnam that originated in Hai Duong Province. It is made from mung beans, vegetable oil or pork fat, and sugar. This Vietnamese cake has a sweet taste, a fudge-like consistency, and a smooth texture. It is believed to first appear in the 1920s and has since become a beloved iconic dish in Vietnamese cuisine. Traditionally, mung bean cakes are enjoyed with a cup of tea to balance out the sweetness.
12. Banh duc – one of the most delectable Vietnamese cakes
Banh duc is a traditional Vietnamese cake made from humble rice grains. There are various types of banh duc such as the plain one made from glutinous rice flour, cut into bite-sized pieces, and served with soy sauce or sesame. This variation has a refreshing and rustic flavor. Alternatively, there is a more elaborate banh duc served with a sweet and sour fish sauce and minced wood ear mushrooms. If you have a sweet tooth, you can also enjoy banh duc served with coconut milk and roasted peanuts.
13. Banh deo – a traditional Vietnamese moon cake
Banh deo is one of the two traditional Vietnamese mooncakes. Symbolizing luck and reunion, it is a treat that every Vietnamese person has savored. This Vietnamese cake is made from glutinous rice flour for a soft and chewy crust, combined with sweet syrup and a rich filling that can include taro, mung beans, coconut, lotus seeds, and more. Banh deo is typically enjoyed with hot tea to balance out the sweetness and enhance the overall experience.
14. Banh khoai mi – Vietnamese cassava cake
Banh khoai mi, or Vietnamese cassava cake, is a traditional Vietnamese cake that has been passed down through generations. Once cherished for sustaining people during difficult times, it is now loved for its deliciously sweet and creamy taste. Made from cassava, tapioca starch, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla, and other ingredients, this Vietnamese cake is mixed and baked to create a dense, moist, and fragrant cake that is hard to resist.
15. Banh troi nuoc – an unmissable cake for special events
Banh troi is one of the traditional Vietnamese cakes that are often enjoyed during the celebration of the third day of the third lunar month. These round chewy cakes are filled with a rich mixture of green mung beans and black sesame seeds, often served with a ginger-flavored syrup. This combination results in a sweet, gentle, and warm taste. You can easily find street vendors selling banh troi in the charming streets of Hanoi.
16. Banh tieu – a popular Vietnamese cake for street food tours
Banh tieu is a familiar name in the treasury of traditional Vietnamese cakes. Made primarily from wheat flour and roasted sesame seeds, these fried cakes puff up, creating a soft yet crispy texture that is highly appealing. Nowadays, to enhance the flavor, some variations include mung beans, condensed milk, pineapple, coconut, and more, offering a wide range of delicious options.
17. Banh com – a delicacy of Hanoi’s cuisine
Banh com is a famous specialty of Hanoi and an essential part of Vietnamese wedding ceremonies. The vibrant green color and the chewiness of green sticky rice blend perfectly with sweet mung beans. Enjoying this Vietnamese cake with hot tea in the cool autumn weather of Hanoi is ideal. Alternatively, you can buy this exquisite treat as a gift, which symbolizes the sophistication of Vietnamese cuisine.
18. Banh tro – one of the most flavorful cakes in Vietnam
Banh tro is a Vietnamese cake that is typically seen during the festival on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. It has a unique preparation method, using glutinous rice soaked in ash water which gives it a beautiful amber color. The cake is then wrapped in banana leaves and boiled until fully cooked. Banh tro has a mildly sweet taste with chewy rice grains, often enjoyed with sugarcane syrup to enhance its flavor.
19. Banh cong – a specialty of the Khmer culture in the South
Banh cong is a specialty of the Khmer people in southern provinces, named after the tool used to make the cake which looks like a small cup. This Vietnamese cake is made from rice flour, wheat flour, and turmeric, combined with shrimp, meat, and mung beans. Afterward, it is deep-fried to achieve a golden and crispy exterior, along with a soft and flavorful interior. This cake is often served with fresh vegetables and a sweet and sour fish sauce, offering a satisfying experience.
20. Banh giay – among the most delicious Vietnamese cakes
Banh giay is another traditional cake in Vietnam, a symbol of gratitude towards heaven and earth. The traditional version of this Vietnamese cake is made from steamed sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves and served with various types of pork sausages. There are also variations with sweet mung bean fillings or savory mung bean fillings, catering to modern tastes.
Vietnam is a country renowned for its rich culinary tradition. Besides the diverse array of Vietnamese cakes, don’t miss out on other delicacies like Vietnamese noodles, Vietnamese fried rice, pancake Vietnam, Vietnamese spring rolls, mi Quang, bun dau mam tom, Vietnamese bread, steamed rice rolls, Pho rolls, turmeric fish, Vietnamese broken rice, Vietnamese fish cake, and more.
To savor these specialties, you can explore bustling cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, and Ha Long. While you immerse yourself in the charm of these cities, it is worth contemplating a visit to the remarkable hotels and resorts of Vinpearl.
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Vietnamese cakes represent a delicious tapestry of flavors and traditions. These sweet and savory treats offer a glimpse into the heart of Vietnamese cuisine, where every bite tells a story. Whether you savor the crispy delight of banh cong or indulge in the soothing sweetness of banh da lon, each Vietnamese cake is a culinary masterpiece waiting to be enjoyed.