Bánh Bò

Bánh bò is a Vietnamese sponge cake, known for its sweet taste and chewy texture with a honeycomb-like interior.

Lastest Updated May 27, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
  • Street Food
  • Traditional
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Fact: Bánh bò is known for its unique, honeycomb-like texture.

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Basic Information

Bánh Bò: Basic Information


/bahn baw/

Alternative Name(s)


Dish Type

Cake and pastries, desserts, snacks




Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Origin and Region

Bánh Bò: Origin and Region



Continent’s Region

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

Nationwide Origin

Associated Region

Vietnam Map
A Deep Dive

Popular Bánh Bò Variations

Ingredients and Preparation

Bánh Bò: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Rice flour, water, sugar, yeast, and coconut milk

Main Cooking Method

Steaming, or baking

Preparation Process

Batter made from ingredients, steamed or baked to create a honeycomb-like texture inside.
A Deep Dive

Bánh Bò: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

Traditional Vietnamese dessert, often served during festivals and family gatherings




Chewy with a honeycomb-like appearance


Slight coconut fragrance


Usually white or pale yellow

Serving Style

Often served as individual portions

Serving Temperature

Warm or at room temperature


Often enjoyed with tea or as a standalone snack





Special Diets

Gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian


300 calories, according to data of MyFitnessPal for ½ package of bánh bò.



Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Idli
  2. Vattayappam
  3. Bika Ambon

Popular Dining Area

Street vendors, dessert shops, households

Bánh bò is a traditional Vietnamese dessert known for its sweet and chewy texture. This sponge cake is distinctive for its honeycomb-like interior, which is achieved through the formation of numerous small air bubbles.

Banh Bo Infographic

The main ingredients include rice flour, water, sugar, and yeast. Coconut milk is also typically added to the batter, giving the cake a subtle coconut flavor and aroma.

Originating from Southern China, the Vietnamese version of this cake differs from the Chinese variant in its inclusion of coconut milk.

This type of cake can be eaten alone or sandwiched with bánh tiêu, or served on a plate with coconut milk sprinkled with toasted sesame.

Allow me to guide you through the characteristics of the dish, explore the etymology of ‘bánh bò’, discuss its different versions, advantages, and disadvantages, frequently asked questions, and dishes that are alike.

Key Points

  • Bánh bò is a traditional Vietnamese sponge cake, noted for its sweet taste and unique, chewy texture with a distinctive honeycomb-like interior.
  • Bánh bò is typically enjoyed as a dessert but can also accompany meals.
  • The name “bánh bò” translates to “cake” (bánh) and “cow” or “to crawl” (bò).

Bánh Bò Images

What Is The Origin of The Name “Bánh Bò”?

The name “Bánh Bò” for the Vietnamese sponge cake has an interesting origin. In Vietnamese, “bánh” translates to “cake,” and “bò” has dual meanings: it can mean “cow” or “to crawl.” There are two theories regarding the name’s origin.

One theory suggests that the cake was originally called “bánh vú bò,” which means “cow’s udder cake,” due to its resemblance to a cow’s udder. This name was eventually shortened to “Bánh Bò.” The other popular theory is that “bò” refers to the way the cake expands and “crawls” up the sides of the bowl during the cooking process.

Thus, the unique and dual interpretation of “bánh bò” reflects not only its distinctive shape and cooking process but also paves the way for various regional variations of bánh bò.

What Are Famous Variations of Bánh Bò?

There are 5 famous variations of Bánh Bò, each with its unique flavors and preparation methods:

Banh Bo Nuong

A baked version of bánh bò, known for its slightly chewy texture and often flavored with coconut.

Banh Bo Hap

This is the steamed version, characterized by a soft, spongy texture and a sweet taste.

Banh Bo Sua Nuong

A dairy-infused variation, incorporating condensed milk or milk powder instead of coconut milk. This variation is baked in a small pan.

Banh Bo Dua

Coconut is a key ingredient in this variation, giving it a distinct tropical flavor.

Banh Bo Thot Not

Made with palm sugar, offering a unique, caramel-like sweetness.

Exploring these variations of bánh bò reveals a delightful array of flavors and textures, each presenting its own pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of Eating Bánh Bò

Bánh bò offers a unique blend of flavors and textures, and like any food, it has its pros and cons:


  • Flavor and Texture: Bánh bò is known for its distinctive, slightly sweet flavor and spongy, airy texture, making it a delightful snack or dessert.
  • Cultural Experience: Eating bánh bò can be a cultural experience, offering a taste of Vietnamese culinary traditions.
  • Versatility: It can be enjoyed in various ways, either plain or with toppings like coconut milk or sesame seeds.
  • Gluten-Free: Traditionally made from rice flour, bánh bò is naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.


  • Sugar Content: Like many desserts, bánh bò can be high in sugar, which may not be ideal for those monitoring their sugar intake.
  • Availability: Outside of Vietnam or Vietnamese communities, it might be challenging to find authentic bánh bò.
  • Allergens: For those with allergies, it’s important to be cautious as some variations might contain coconut, sesame, or other allergens.

Let’s delve into some frequently asked questions to further unravel the popular queries surrounding this Vietnamese delicacy.

Bánh Bò FAQs

Since the primary ingredient is rice flour, bánh bò is naturally gluten-free. However, it’s important to check for cross-contamination if you’re particularly sensitive to gluten.

Traditional bánh bò requires rice flour for its unique texture and taste. Using regular wheat flour would significantly alter the cake’s characteristics.

Truc Tran (Kris)

Truc Tran (Kris)

Senior Food Editor


Home Cooking, Meal Planning, Recipe Development, Baking and Pastry, Food Editor, Cooking-video Maker, Vietnamese Food Evaluation Expert


  • Hospitality (Commercial Cookery) at TasTAFE
  • Culinary Arts at Kendall College (Australia Branch in Sydney)
  • Vietnamese Cuisine Head Chef at HNAAu School (Vietnam, International Joint Training Program)

Truc Tran (Kris), an experienced food writer and editor, is great at exploring and describing global cuisines, from simple street food to fancy dining. In her writing, she skillfully mixes different flavors, cooking methods, and culinary traditions, showing the unique character of various cultures through their food and drinks. On azcuisines.com, Kris highlights her knowledge, especially in Asian cuisine and worldwide traditional dishes.

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