Vietnamese Square Cake (Banh Chung)| The soul of Vietnamese New Year!

Square cake (Banh Chung) is the most popular and delicious Traditional Vietnamese Food and irreplaceable cake of Vietnamese people in the Tet Holidays and King Hung’s anniversary (10th March Lunar). For the Vietnamese, making this cake is the ideal way to express gratitude to their ancestors and homeland.

The legend of Square cake (Banh Chung):

This cake was invented by the 18th Prince of Hung Emperor in the contest of looking for new Emperor. According to the legend, 3,000-4,000 years ago, Prince Lang Lieu, made round and square cakes, the round Day cake symbolizing the sky and the Square cake symbolizing the Earth (under the ancient Vietnamese perception), to be offered on the occasion of Spring.

Square-cake-banh-chung
In the ancient conception, the Earth is square; hence this cake’s shape is square, too, to reflect the Earth shape. Since the cakes he offered were of special meaning and delicious taste, Lang Lieu was selected to be the next Emperor. Since then, in honor of this 18th Prince, Vietnamese people always make and have Square cake in the Lunar New Year.

Up to now, this Traditional Vietnamese Food has become the most famous and irreplaceable food in Tet Holiday. This legend aims to remind the next generations of the ancient tradition as well as the primary of Chung cake. Besides, it emphasizes the important role of rice and nature in water rice culture.

How to make a Chung Cake?

In contrast to the fast food in modern life, the process of making Square cake is time-consuming and requires the contribution of several people. Main ingredients are glutinous rice, pork meat, and green beans wrapped in a square of bamboo leaves that will give the rice a green color after boiling. The sticky rice must be very good and was soaked in water in the previous day.


Square Cake – Bánh Chưng (Process).Square-cake-banh-chung
Rice cake is wrapped in square shape, and the wrapping power must be neither tight nor loose. Then the cake will be boiled in about 12 hours by wood. The green has nutrition with an original tasty flavor and may be kept for a long time. Eating this food with soured chinese shallot (Củ Kiệu)  will bring you unforgettable taste! Do not miss this Traditional Vietnamese Food for the Tet holiday at Vietnam.

 

Banh Chung today

Banh Chung can be served as it is or fried to make ‘Banh Chung Ran’ – a delicious for such cold February in Vietnam. In some other regions, especially the Southern part of Vietnam, Banh Chung can be wrap in a cylindral shape with same ingredients, called ’Banh Tet’. A similar one to Banh Tet is ‘Banh Tay’ or ‘Banh Chung Dai’ (Long Banh Chung), served solely in the North with mung bean and little or no pork, hence, can be preserved for a longer period. There are also many variations of Banh Chung according to regions, religions and likings such as Banh Chung Gu (Humped Banh Chung) of San Diu people, Banh Chung Chay (Vegetarian Banh Chung) for vegetarians and Buddhists, Banh Chung Ngot (Sweetened Banh Chung), etc.

Fried Chung Cake

(Fried Chung Cake is a popular variation of Vietnamese Square Cake)

In traditional context, the process of making Banh Chung is an occasion for Vietnamese family members to get together. Sitting around the warm fire, talking and telling each other past stories, they get ready for a New Year with lots of good wishes. Although nowadays, not many Vietnamese families keep this habit anymore, Banh Chung is still an irreplaceable dish of Vietnamese ancestor altar on the occasion of Tet. It is the evidence of the Vietnamese loyalty and great gratitude to their ancestors.

Where to eat Banh Chung?
In Lunar New Year, Chung cake is eaten by every Vietnamese family. Nowadays, Chung cake is sold as a street food. To eat fried Banh Chung, you can visit the street restaurant that is right opposite to Cho Dong Xuan (Dong Xuan market), the largest market in Hanoi. THe price is about $1 a cake.
The restaurant is small but very delicious.
And you will find that next to the Chung cake shop is a Chao Suon restaurant that sell rice soup cooked with ribs. Then why don’t you try it also? A bowl of Chao Suon is about $1,5
Source: vietnamonline
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