Banh Tet: Traditional cake in southern Vietnam

Banh Tet (cylinder glutinous rice cake) is a traditional cake enjoyed by southern Vietnamese people during the Lunar New Year. It is considered a variant of Banh Chung, a popular dish in the north.

Le Thi Rot’s family in Phuoc Hoa village, Mong Tho B commune, Chau Thanh district, Kien Giang province has made Tet cakes for sale for over 30 years. The cakes has brought her stable income of 300 – 400 USD whenever Tet comes.

Also in Phuoc Hoa village, Vo Thi Mai’s family has a long tradition of making Tet cakes. This year, she is even busier due to a rise in the number of orders.

There are around 20 - 30 households making Tet cakes for frequent sale in Phuoc Hoa village. The number is even doubled when Lunar New Year comes due to a soar in consumers’ demand.

The Tet cake is cylindrical, made with sticky rice and filled with pork fat and beans seasoned with black pepper and shallots. It is wrapped in banana leaves and as a result, the sticky rice takes on a pale green color and a slightly leafy taste.

The process of making Tet cakes is time consuming, thus providing an opportunity for family members to bond and come together to celebrate the holiday spirit./.