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Making Chung Cake at Tet Custom

In today's modern society, many traditions of Vietnam has disappeared, but there is a traditional values having still existed with the time- making Chung cake at Tet - New Year Holiday.

The custom of making banh Chung (chung cake- square glutinous rice cake) has existed in our country since the time of King Hung, and is one of the traditional values which endures with time, overcomes the historical volatility. Although Vietnam was over 1000 years under the Chinese domination and nearly 100 years under the Western colonialism, making Chung cake custom to offer ancestor has not faded.


According to “Chung cake Giay cake” legend, in King Hung VI (c. 1712 - 1632 BC) on occasion of Hung Kings’ anniversary, the King summoned the Lang- the hereditary mandarin (sons of the King) and said that the Lang who could find the sacrifice which met the King’s desire to offer the ancestor would be abdicated the throne. The Langs went to the forests, or into the sea to find rubies and precious products to make offerings and give to the king. Lang Lieu (also called Lang Leo in some documents) was the poorest person among the Langs, he could not find the valuable and rare yields to offer his father; therefore, he used the usual agricultural products including sticky rice, green beans , pork and Dong leaves to make two cakes named Chung cake and Giay cake which symbolized the heaven and the earth as offerings. Lang Lieu’ gifts met the desire of King Hung, and he was abdicated the throne and became the King. Since then, Chung cake and Giay cake have became indispensable yields in ancestor workshipping rituals and to express the gratitude of the descendants with the ancestor.

Chung cake is associated with the legend of Lang Lieu Prince
Chung cake symbolizes the earth with green color representing vegetation, green beans representing fruits, pork representing animals, and glutinous rice representing human beings. Dong leaves used to wrap Chung cakes have green color. The natural green color of Dong leaves makes Chung cakes become special and eye- catching. In some areas, people replace Dong leaves by banana leaves, dock leaves, or even Indian almond leaves.

It is also very interesting that Chung cakes are boiled it 10 hours. Many generations of Vietnamese people will never forget the memories of staying up all night, sitting by the fire to wait for the cooked cakes and grill the potatoes and sweet potatoes in the piercing cold nights before Tet.


Chung cake is an indispensable dish in the meals of every family at Tet as well as in the sacrifice offered the ancestor. In the days after the New Year, fried Chung cakes become a favorite food of many people, especially small children. Enjoying the toughness and crispy of fried Chung cakes fried is a nice feeling, and might be the "addictive" food many people. Many people eat fried Chung cakes each morning as a familiar dish, not just at Tet. Nowadays, it is not difficult for us to find a vendor selling fried Chung cakes in the early morning in the streets of Hanoi.

Fried Chung cake is a favorite dish of many people
Chung cake is a typical cake at Tet of the provinces in the North of Vietnam and North Central Coast . In the Southern provinces, the popular cake at Tet is bánh Tét, a circular cylindrical cakes, wrapped in banana leaves and made from ingredients including is sticky rice, pork and the fillings like mung beans, black beans or bananas. Taste of bánh Tét is not different from Banh Chung. Many researchers believe that due to the confrontation between Lord Trinh and Lord Nguyen in late Le Dynasty, the Lords Nguyen had people in "Dang Trong" make bánh Tét to create differences with Chung cakes of “Dang Ngoai”

The typical and traditional cakes at Tet of Vietnamese people

Along with the development of modern society, Chung cakes are also becoming more various in size and taste. At the cake stalls throughout the markets, from rural to urban areas, you can choose for yourselves types of Chung cakes, from small to big, with salty or sweet taste depending on each person's taste.

Making Chung Cake at Tet Custom

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