How to make banh chung

Banh chung or simply square rice cake is a staple during the Lunar New Year in Vietnam (Tet Festival). In Vietnamese legend, the procedure to make this food was taught by a god to a young Vietnamese man. The cake symbolizes the earth (the green color left by the wrapping of the cake after it is cooked), the heaven (the white sticky rice), and man (the meat and soya beans in the middle).

Co Doanh, my friend’s mom, cooked banh chung for the new year. Making the cake is both labor and time intensive since it takes not less than twelve hours in low flame to cook the cakes, so most of the time banh chung are made in bulk where several families can each have its share of the cakes.

Below are pictures of the procedure in making the sticky cakes taken using a camera phone.

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Preparing the ingredients and materials: sticky rice, pork (preferably with fatty portions), soya, salt to taste, leaves of a banana-like plant, and some bamboo strings

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Preparing the sticky rice by soaking it in water overnight.

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Using four leaves placed on top of each other forming an “X”; placing the sticky rice.

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Adding the ground soya and boiled meat.

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Wrapping the rice, soya, and pork.

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Forming them into squares and fastening the individual cakes using the bamboo strings. They will then be boiled in low flame for at least 12 hours or depending on the number of cakes you want to cook.

6 thoughts on “How to make banh chung”

  1. Hello, to cook it do you use regular stove top, or you use a separate stove?do you fill it with water? and where do you get the banana leaves? thanks

    1. my friend’s mom used wood because it needs long, slow cooking. yeas, you need water to cook it. banana leaves can be bought from any regular grocery.

  2. hai yen nguyen, thanks for dropping by here. chuc mung nam moi, ban.

    toi hy vong ban co rat vui nam moi voi gia dinh cua ban.

    i hope you understood my vietnamese.

    all the best. happy lunar new year.

  3. banh chung is a traditional and irreplaceable vietnamese food. Making banh chung is a opportunity for the union of family members. Sitting round warm fire, family members tell one another past stories and are ready for a new year with best wishes. Up to now, making banh chung is not very popular in urban area because of the business. However, the worship ancestors with banh chung doesn’t change. This is an evidence of the Vietnamese loyalty and deep gratitude to ancestors.

  4. hi sound interesting the earth, the heaven and the man. The perception is same like Chinese whose bagua goes around with these three elements. The heaven show the sign and the Earth provide the platform and the man does the things

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