Bánh Flan

Bánh flan is a beloved Vietnamese dessert made from eggs, milk, and caramel.

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
  • Fusion
  • Street Food
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Fact: Vietnamese flan was influenced by the French during their colonial period.

Flag of Vietnam#85 in Vietnam

Basic Information

Bánh Flan: Basic Information

Pronunciation

bahn flahn

Alternative Name(s)

Caramen (in the Northern region)

Dish Type

Desserts, Snacks

Course

Dessert

Mealtime

Anytime
Origin and Region

Bánh Flan: Origin and Region

Origin

Vietnam

Continent’s Region

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

Nationwide Origin

Associated Region

Unspecified
Vietnam Map
A Deep Dive

Popular Bánh Flan Variations

Ingredients and Preparation

Bánh Flan: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Eggs, milk, sugar

Main Cooking Method

Steaming (traditionally)

Preparation Process

Preparing the caramel and custard mixture, pouring them in ramekins, steaming until set
A Deep Dive

Bánh Flan: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

A popular dessert in Vietnamese cuisine, influenced by French culinary traditions

Taste

Sweet with a caramel flavor

Texture

Smooth, creamy, and custard-like

Aroma

Sweet, with hints of caramel and vanilla

Color

Light yellow with a dark caramel top

Serving Style

Typically in individual cups

Serving Temperature

Chilled or cold

Accompaniment

Often served with black coffee poured around the cake

Occasions

On any occasions

Seasons

Year-round

Special Diets

Gluten-free, vegetarian

Calories

189 calories, according to data of MyFitnessPal for 1 cup of Banh flan

Popularity

Vietnam, especially in urban regions

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Crème Brûlée

Popular Dining Area

Vietnamese dessert cafes, restaurants, street vendors, or households

Bánh flan is a favorite dessert made from a steamed mixture of eggs, milk, and caramelized sugar. It is popular across Vietnam, especially as a street food in urban regions. 

Banh Flan Overview

Regarding its history, bánh flan is a fusion treat that was introduced during the French colonial period in Vietnam. 

It eventually evolved through the addition of local ingredients and flavors. It is also known as a Vietnamese-style creme caramel. Plus, in the Northern part of Vietnam, bánh flan is known as caramen. 

In the reading, you’ll have a closer look at Vietnamese flan cake’s ingredients and how to prepare it in the traditional way (steaming on the stove) or baking it in the oven. Furthermore, I’ll show you some beloved varieties of bánh flan in this Southeast Asian country. 

Nonetheless, consumers should be mindful of the specific benefits and drawbacks to enjoy them accordingly, address some common questions regarding bánh flan, and find out other similar culinary delights.

Key Points

  • Vietnamese bánh flan is a dessert made from eggs, milk, and caramel.
  • It gained popularity in Vietnam during the French colonial era.
  • The dessert can be prepared traditionally by steaming or by baking in an oven.
  • Various styles of bánh flan exist in Vietnam, incorporating unique ingredients like green tea, cheese, jelly, or sponge cake.

Bánh Flan Images

What Are Ingredients To Prepare Bánh Flan?

To prepare bánh flan, you typically need the following ingredients:

Eggs

Eggs

Use whole eggs and additional egg yolks for a richer custard base.

Milk

Milk

In Vietnam, locals can make it with either condensed milk or fresh milk (or both). All increase the creaminess of the cake.

Brown Sugar

Sugar

For making caramel. It can be white or brown sugar.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Extract

To reduce the original flavor of eggs and give bánh flan a more delicate aroma.

Please note that the exact ratio of milk to eggs in bánh flan can vary as it also depends on what types of milk are used. However, they are important in determining the cake’s texture and smoothness.

Another factor for a perfect flan is cooking it. Read on to comprehend its making process.

How To Make Bánh Flan?

Here are simplified steps to prepare bánh flan at home.

Step 1: Preparing the Caramel

In a saucepan, mix sugar and water. Heat until the sugar dissolves and turns into a golden-brown caramel. Quickly pour the caramel into ramekins or a flan mold, tilting to coat the bottom evenly.

Step 2: Making the Custard Mix

Whisk eggs in a bowl. Add sweetened condensed milk or fresh milk (or both, depending on personal preference) and a splash of vanilla extract. Mix well. Strain the mixture with a filter to increase the smoothness.

Step 3: Pouring the Mixture

Pour the custard mix into the caramel-coated ramekins or mold.

Step 4: Steaming the Flan

Steam them on the stove. To check the doneness. Use a toothpick to pierce the cake; if no batter sticks to it, bánh flan is ready.

Step 5: Cooling

Let them cool to room temperature, then transfer them to the fridge until chilled.

Step 6: Serving

Vietnamese people normally enjoy bánh flan with brewed black coffee since the bitterness of coffee can complement the sweetness and creaminess of this steamed cake. Additionally, locals also often use milk coffee or mix black coffee with coconut milk to reduce the bitterness.

However, bánh flan often ends up with a pitted surface when steam condenses on the lid and drips down during the steaming process. Therefore, others choose another way to cook it, which is by oven.

How To Bake Bánh Flan in An Oven?

Making bánh flan in an oven is similar to steaming it on the stove, except for the part of preparing it for baking. You will need to:

  • Step 1: Preheating the oven to 325-350°F.
  • Step 2: Placing the filled ramekins in a deep baking pan and creating a water bath by filling the pan with hot water to the midway point of the ramekins’ height.
  • Step 3: Baking the flan for around 45 minutes to 1 hour until the cake is set but still slightly wobbly in the center. You can use a toothpick to check the doneness.

Next, let’s discover the diverse versions of this dessert that are common in Vietnam.

What Are the Common Varieties of Vietnamese Bánh Flan?

Besides the basic form of bánh flan, Vietnamese know how to adapt other ingredients to make it more diverse in varieties. Below are four famous styles of bánh flan in this country.

Banh Flan Tra Xanh

Green tea-flavored flan with a subtle taste of matcha, offering a twist to the traditional flan.

Banh Flan Pho Mai

Creamy cheese-flavored flan, blending the smooth texture of flan with the rich taste of cheese.

Banh Flan Gato

A fusion of flan and sponge cake (normally in cacao flavor in Vietnam).

Rau Cau Banh Flan

A combination of flan and jelly (rau câu) featuring multiple layers of jelly-like rau câu and creamy flan.

After familiarizing yourself with these flan versions, don’t forget to evaluate their positive and negative aspects in general.

Pros and Cons of Eating Bánh Flan

Considering bánh flan for your next dessert? Be sure to understand its upsides and potential downsides, which are shown in the below table.

Pros

  • Delightful Taste and Texture: Bánh flan offers a creamy, smooth texture and a rich, sweet flavor.
  • Ideal Dessert Option: Serves as a light and satisfying dessert, perfect for rounding off a meal.
  • Simple Ingredients: Bánh flan doesn’t require fancy ingredients like eggs, milk, and sugar.

Cons

  • High Sugar Content: The caramel and custard usually contain a significant amount of sugar, which is not ideal for those watching their sugar intake.
  • Not Suitable for All Diets: Not ideal for those with lactose intolerance or egg allergies, and it’s not vegan-friendly.

Coming up, let’s compare Vietnamese and Mexican flan to see how they are different from each other.

Vietnamese Flan vs. Mexican Flan, What Are The Differences?

The next table provides you comparative analysis regarding ingredients, texture, serving styles, variations, and cultural significance to compare Vietnamese and Mexican flan.

Additionally, it’s advisable to explore common questions about this Vietnamese-style creme caramel. Continue reading!

Bánh Flan FAQs

Flan develops small holes due to high temperatures causing the mixture to boil, especially when baked in metal trays with direct oven wall contact.

The final product can be too firm because of overcooking or using a high ratio of eggs in the mixture, which can result in a denser texture.

Properly stored in the refrigerator, bánh flan can last up to 5 days. Ensure it’s covered to prevent it from absorbing other flavors.

A rough or bubbly top can occur if the caramel is not evenly spread in the dish or if the egg mixture is over-whisked, resulting in too much air.

This can happen if the sugar caramel is overcooked or if the custard is undercooked, causing weeping.

Yes, a water bath is crucial as it provides gentle, even heat, preventing the eggs from curdling and ensuring a smooth texture.

It’s not recommended to freeze bánh flan as it can affect the texture, making it grainy after thawing.

Truc Tran (Kris)

Truc Tran (Kris)

Senior Food Editor

Expertise

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

Education

  • 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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