Vietnamese Square Sticky Rice Cake (Banh Chung) is the most popular and delicious traditional Vietnamese food and irreplaceable cake in the Tet Holidays (January 1st in the Lunar Calendar) and King Hung’s anniversary (March 10th in the Lunar Calendar).
Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Traditional Vietnamese Square Sticky Rice Cake – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Dong leaves used to wrap Banh Chung – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Vietnamese Square Sticky Rice Cake before being boiled – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Banh Chung has enjoyed a central place in Vietnamese culture — at the family table and on the ancestor worship altar. Since it’s considered taboo to work or cook during the first three days of Tet. For the Vietnamese, making this cake is the ideal way to express gratitude to their ancestors and homeland. These cakes are usually made before the festivities begin. Serve this dish at room temperature with a side of salt and pepper or reheat slightly in the microwave and serve as part of a meal.
The origin of Banh Chung can be traced to Hong Bang Dynasty – when the 6th Hung Emperor ruled the land. Hung Emperor wanted to find the one to inherit his position and sit on the throne. He held a cooking contest for his 21 sons, and who could fully satisfy his taste would be the new king.
Lang Lieu – one of the princesses – brought the Square Sticky Rice Cake (Banh Chung) and Square Sticky Rice Cake (Banh Day) to the emperor while other princes presented such expensive and unusual dishes. The Emperor asked Lieu about the meaning of the cakes. Lieu said that he cooked a square sticky rice cake, stuffed it with cooked bean paste and ground meat in the middle, and called it Banh Chung, which was symbolic of the earth. He also had cooked the glutinous rice, then molded it into a round rice cake, and called it Banh Day as it symbolized the sky. Hung Emperor decided that Lieu was the winner and passed his throne to him.
Lang Lieu was cooking Vietnamese Square Sticky Rice Cake and Vietnamese Round Sticky Rice Cake
The process of making Vietnamese Square Sticky Rice Cake is time-consuming and requires the contribution of several people. Then the cake will be boiled in about 12 hours by wood.
In the traditional conception of Vietnamese people, the process of making Chung cake is the opportunity for family to come together. Sitting around the warm fire, all members in the family tell one another the past stories and are ready for a New Year with wishes of best things.
All members of Vietnamese family gathered around the fire and waited for that Banh Chung was done
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