Banh Chung and Banh Tet - symbols of Vietnamese Tet


Tet - also known as Lunar New Year, is one of the most important festivals in Vietnamese culture. This is an opportunity to welcome the new year according to the lunar calendar, usually taking place around January or February of the solar calendar. Tet is a time for people to spend time with their families and gather together after a year of hard work.

This is also an opportunity for everyone to temporarily put aside the worries of the old year and welcome a new year with much joy and hope. In the bustling atmosphere of Tet, it is indispensable to see images of delicious green Banh Chung and Bnah Tet, traditional dishes imbued with national cultural identity.


Banh Chung and Banh Tet - symbols of Vietnamese Tet

Banh Chung and Banh Tet are two indispensable cakes in traditional Vietnamese Tet. Banh Chung is square, symbolizing the earth, with an outer layer made from green phrynium or banana leaves, and inside is filled with green beans, fatty meat, spices and fragrant sticky rice. Banh Tet has a long cylindrical shape, symbolizing the sky, is wrapped in banana leaves or phrynium leaves and has a filling similar to Banh Chung.

Both types of cakes are cooked by boiling for many hours. When the cake is cooked, the fragrant aroma of sticky rice, green beans, and fatty meat blend together, creating a unique, unforgettable flavor. Banh Chung and Banh Tet are not only delicious dishes but also symbols of Tet day that carry a deep meaning of gratitude to ancestors, reunion and praying for a happy and prosperous new year.


How to make Banh Chung and Banh Tet?

To make a delicious Banh Chung and Banh Tet, prepare ingredients carefully and follow these steps:


  • Sticky rice
  • Green bean
  • Meat
  • Phrymium leaves or banana leaves
  • Fastener ( usually use fastener by bamboo )
  • Spice


1. Preliminary processing of ingredients

• Wash sticky rice and soak in water for about 6 hours.

• Wash green beans and soak in water for about 4 hours.

• Wash fatty meat, cut into small and long pieces, marinate with spices

• Wash and dry phrynium leaves or banana leaves.

2. Package of cake

• For Banh Chung: 

To make the cake more square and beautiful, you should prepare a square frame to use as a mold.

Next, arrange Phrymium or  leaves. Arrange the leaves by folding the bottom edge up and the left edge over to create a crease for the leaf. Perform the same operation for the remaining 3 pieces of leaves. Then place 4 leaves under the mold and pour sticky rice on top.
Spread the folds evenly in the 4 corners of the mold and leave a concave in the middle. Put the green beans in there, then the meat, then the green beans. Next, spread the sticky rice and cover it, trying to make the amount of sticky rice and green beans on top and bottom even.

Finally, wrap the cake and tie it with string. Remember not to tie it too tightly because the cake will expand while cooking in the pot.

• For Banh Tet: 

Spread the banana leaves / phrymium leaves on a large flat surface. Arrange 2 pieces of leaves next to each other, put 1 more piece in the middle. Put the sticky rice in the middle of the leave, spread a thin layer of rice horizontally, then add green beans. Note, the layer of green beans must be less than the rice and fit inside the layer of white rice.

Next, place 1 piece of pork belly on top of green beans to make the filling, then add 1 layer of green beans and 1 layer of sticky rice. Be careful so that the rice evenly covers the entire green bean filling and meat.
Then, wrap the middle layer of leaves to fix the shape of the sticky rice, then use the 2 outer layers of leaves to roll tightly, folding the edges to form a complete cake.
Next, use strips to secure the cake vertically and horizontally to complete the wrapping of Banh Tet.

3. Boil the cake

  • Arrange banana leaves/ phrymium leaves at the bottom of a large pot and then place the banh tet (lengthwise) in there. Pour water to cover the cake and boil continuously for 8 hours until the cake is soft. Be careful to pour water continuously if the water boils dry.

    The way to cook Banh Tet to ensure even cooking is when the water in the pot boils, lower the heat and then boil the Banh Tet over medium heat. After boiling time, take the cake out, drain and cool gradually.

  •  When the cake is done, take it out, let it cool and enjoy. You can store at room temperature or refrigerate if desired.

Meaning of Banh Chung and Banh Tet


Expressing national traditions


On days when the country was at war, the cakes although simple, filled the stomachs and warmed the hearts of soldiers on the battlefield, helping them to concentrate more on fighting the enemy.

Thanks to that cake, the couple's love for each other became even closer, and their love for their homeland became even more passionate.

During the reign of King Quang Trung, Quang Trung King was not only talented at fighting the enemy, he was also a person who thought of national traditions when ordering these Tet cakes to be cooked every Tet holiday to remind future generations to appreciate their roots more. 

Symbol of Heaven and Earth

As a nation with a long-standing wet rice civilization, each Vietnamese dish always has a story, an accompanying legend - Banh Chung, Banh Tet too, square Banh Chung, Banh Tet is a representation of Heaven and Earth, the two things that people worship, always embrace, surround and protect the people.

>>>Tips when traveling on Tet holiday & attractive tourist destinations for Tet 2024

Show the love

Thanks to the skillful and meticulous hands of wrapping the cakes, these two types of cakes express love, making the cakes even more special and precious.

Represents the universe and humanity

The combination of these two types of cakes during Tet represents the desire for fertility to grow stronger and stronger.

Shows fullness and prosperity

A Banh Chung or Banh Tet includes all the ingredients from animals to plants such as fatty meat, green beans, and sticky rice, expressing prosperity.

Each ingredient wrapped in cake represents a necessary ingredient in life. Fatty meat, green beans and sticky rice are tightly mixed together, creating a cake that everyone loves.

The rounds of Banh Tet and Banh Chung are cut out with leaf veins, revealing the plump filling inside, then solemnly placed on the altar and worship tray of the people with the wish that every year will be prosperous, happy and full.

Quang Binh is a land in central Vietnam famous for its beautiful natural landscape. In addition, this place also stands out for its cultural beauty and festive activities during the Lunar New Year. If you have the opportunity to visit here, don't forget to experience trips to explore nature combined with experiencing regional culture here. Besides admiring the scenery, you will enjoy the unique cuisine that cannot lack the above two special dishes of Banh Chung and Banh Tet.

>>>See more: explore more about Quang Binh

Banh Chung and Banh Tet are an indispensable part of traditional Vietnamese Tet. These cakes are not only delicious food but also a cultural and spiritual meaning. Banh Chung and Banh Tet are symbols of togetherness and prosperity and wish for a happy new year.

Other news