When mentioning cakes, you might think of colorful and high-sugar desserts. However, with traditional Vietnamese ones, it can be totally different. There are many traditional Vietnamese cakes in Ho Chi Minh City, but here are four types that you definitely should try out.
Banh Chung is made with glutinous rice wrapped by dong leaves and tied with bamboo strings. The fillings include mung beans and pork. The wrapping technique also requires a lot of experience to achieve the desired texture.
Outside and inside of Banh Chung
According to a folk tale of the Hung Kings’ era, Banh Chung presents earth- an indispensable part of Vietnam’s agricultural culture. That’s why it’s significantly sought after during special occasions like Tet Holiday.
If you visit Ho Chi Minh City around that time, you can get it at Places to Try Authentic Hanoi Cuisine in Ho Chi Minh City for around VND 70,000 or more depending on the flavor and size of the cake.
In the same folktale of Banh Chung, Banh Day was said to represent the sky, a figure to which ancient people paid prayers for prosperous crops.
Banh Day looks very simple. It is a small, round, white dough with the unique stickiness and sweet aroma of glutinous rice. It is usually served in a pair with a thick Vietnamese cold cut.
Although it is no much bigger than a grownup fist, it is a snack that would make you pleased (and quite full).
Here are where you can find this type of traditional Vietnamese cakes in Ho Chi Minh City:
Gio Cha Phuc Loc
Address: 84B Cong Quynh, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1
Opening hours: 8 AM – 6 PM
Price: VND 6,000/small pair, VND 10,000/large pair
Gio Cha Minh Chau
Address: 76 Ly Tu Trong, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1
Opening hours: 6 AM – 10 PM
Price: VND 5,000
While Banh Chung is more popular in Northern Vietnam, Banh Tet is more favored in the South. Because of which, it is one of the easy-to-find traditional Vietnamese cakes in Ho Chi Minh City.
The fillings are identical, but their appearances are different: Banh Chung is square, and Banh Tet is cylindrical and wrapped by banana leaves. Apart from that, Banh Tet has a sweet version that is filled with bananas.
Banh Tet is a typical South Vietnam’s cake
Around the time of Lunar New Year, Banh Tet can be found in supermarkets and markets in Ho Chi Minh City. The prices would start from VND 70,000.
Banh Gio is another modest cake whose delicious stuffings hide behind layers of banana leaves. It is made from rice flour, or additional tapioca flour, minced pork, chopped wood ears, quail eggs, and scallions or onions. It can be served alone or eaten with chilly sauce, pickles, and fried sausages.
Banh Gio – the original version and the upgraded one
One Banh Gio can have up to 7 quail eggs!
Among traditional Vietnamese cakes in Ho Chi Minh City, Banh Gio is sold in several convenience stores and even street vendors, where you can also see Banh Bao – Steamed Stuffed Buns. Here are also some suggested addresses:
Banh Gio Nem Cha Di Linh
Address: 185 Hai Ba Trung, Ward 6, District 3
Opening hours: 4:30 PM – 7 PM
Price: VND 15,000
Banh Gio Bep Nha Tui
Address: 55/24B Phan Dinh Phung, Ward 17, Phu Nhuan District
Opening hours: 8 AM – 6 PM
Price: VND 18,000 – 25,000 depending on how many eggs there are
Summary of the Best Traditional Vietnamese Cakes in Ho Chi Minh City
Banh Chung, Banh Tet, Banh Day, and Banh Gio are four traditional cakes that almost all Vietnamese people know and love. In Ho Chi Minh City, you can find them at ease in supermarkets or Vietnamese cold cuts store. Note that the two formers are mostly available on Vietnamese Tet only.
If you would love to have a taste of these cakes but still wondering where to find, check out our Private Food Tour to get help from the locals!