Traditional Tết Rice Cake in Vietnam - Lunar New Year

This video shows a husband and wife in Vietnam making a traditional rice cake for the Chinese New Year ("Tết" in Vietnamese) called "bánh chưng." It consists of sweet rice with mung bean paste and meat in the center and all wrapped in banana leaves. This is then placed into boiling water for several hours and when finished is a solid, but soft block of sweet, sticky rice with a treat inside.

This bánh chưng is the traditional rice cake enjoyed by people in the northern part of Vietnam. In the south, people make a similar dish called "bánh tét" which is elongate and tubular instead of square, but contains the same ingredients. It is really a delicious treat.

See WikiPedia:

From (if interested [though trying to make it is not recommended for the inexperienced], a recipe is also at this link)

"As the legend goes, the Banh Chung came into being under King Hung, the naitonal founder, 3,000-4,000 years ago. Prince Lang Lieu, one of the sons of King Hung, made round and square cakes: the round Banh Day symbolizing the sky, and the square Banh Chung symbolizing the earth (under the ancient Viet's perception) and offered them to his Father on the occasion of Spring, and ever since the Banh Chung has been a "must" during the Tet holidays.

Banh Chung is made of glutinous rice, pork meat, and green beans paste wrapped in a square of bamboo leaves, giving the rice a green colour after boiling.

The wrapping works are very painstaking. The sticky rice must be very good and was soaked in water the day before.

The pork meat for filling must be pig with full lean, aft and peel. Rice cake is wrapped square, not tight nor loose. Rice cake should be boiled at once, by wood, woodduct and rice husk is better. In the tradition of Vietnam, before the New Year one or two days, by the warm fire, the family sit aside telling the past stories and ready for a New Year with hopeful wishes of the best things. Rice cakes, served with lean meat pie and salted sour onions, are available all the time but mostly during Tet.

The Banh Chung is very nutritious, has an original tasty flavour and may be kept for a long time. All of its ingredients and materials are all medicines (according to Oriental Medicine) that act to keep harmony between the positive and the negative, thus helping the blood circulate well and preventing diseases. Certainly, no other cakes could be of such cultural significance and produce such medical effects as the green Banh Chung of Vietnam."

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