Bánh Gai

Bánh gai is a Vietnamese dessert made from glutinous rice and ramie leaf for a black color.

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
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Fact: In Ha Tinh, Khong village is a place that specializes in making bánh gai with a tradition of over a hundred years.

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Basic Information

Bánh Gai: Basic Information


/bahn guy/

Alternative Name(s)


Dish Type

Cakes and pastries, glutinous rice dishes




Origin and Region

Bánh Gai: Origin and Region



Continent’s Region

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

Northern Vietnam

Associated Region

Vietnam Map
A Deep Dive

Popular Bánh Gai Variations

Ingredients and Preparation

Bánh Gai: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Glutinous rice flour, ramie leaves, mung bean, coconut, and pork fat

Main Cooking Method


Preparation Process

The glutinous rice flour is mixed with ramie leaves before encasing a mung bean filling and wrapped with dried banana leaves for steaming.
A Deep Dive

Bánh Gai: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

A traditional dish of Northern Vietnam




Chewy, soft


Uniquely vegetal


Black exterior, yellow filling

Serving Style

As a handheld item

Serving Temperature

At room temperature


No accompaniment


On any occasions



Special Diets



130 calories, according to data of MyFitnessPal for a Bánh Gai cake


Vietnam (especially the Northern region)

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Suman
  2. Zongzi
  3. Bánh Ú
  4. Bánh Ít
  5. Bánh Tro

Popular Dining Area

Local stores and households in Vietnam

Bánh gai is a traditional Vietnamese sweet treat that originates from the Red River Delta of Northern Vietnam. This cake comes in a square shape and is mainly made with glutinous rice flour.

Banh Gai Infographic

Furthermore, bánh gai also features ramie leaves in the flour mixture, giving the cake a signature black color. As for the filling, locals often go for a mung bean paste mixture for a mild sweetness.

Alternatively, other options like other nuts or seeds are also incorporated to diversify the filling flavor. Another notable feature of bánh gai is its wrappers, with all variations often made with dried banana leaves. Once steamed, the leaves help in preserving the cake’s freshness for a longer period at room temperature.

Don’t just stop at the basic information about bánh gai, as this black cake treat offers many adaptations for you to uncover. Then, learn about the benefits and drawbacks of eating bánh gai before letting some of the common inquiries of other readers satisfy your curiosity.

Additionally, I’ll provide you with some suggestions for treats that share the concept like bánh gai.

Key Points

  • Bánh gai is a sweet cake that is made from glutinous rice flour and ramie leaves.
  • The cake has a black color, a square shape, and a mung bean filling.
  • Bánh gai is wrapped in dried banana leaves.
  • The cake originates from the Red River Delta of Northern Vietnam

Bánh Gai Images

What Are the Different Versions of Bánh Gai?

Bánh gai, thanks to many Vietnamese regions, has various adaptations that showcase its unique flavor:

Banh Gai Tu Tru

A specialty of Mia village in Tu Tru village
Features sugarcane syrup

Banh Gai Nam Dinh

A variation from the Nam Dinh area
The glutinous rice flour has a unique taste

Banh Gai Ninh Giang

A specialty of in Ninh Giang of Hai Duong
Has a history of almost 700 years in Ninh Giang

Banh Gai Nghe An

Reflects the local tastes and ingredients of the Nghe An Province

Banh Gai Thai Binh

A version from Thai Binh
Popular variation is bánh gai Đại Đồng with a 400-year history

Banh Gai Ha Tinh

A specialty of Ha Tinh
The region has a long tradition of making bánh gai

Banh Gai Duc Tho

A version of bánh gai from Duc Tho Village
Has a signature flavor of sugarcane syrup

Additionally, you should be aware of the positive and negative features of consuming this bánh gai treat.

Pros and Cons of Eating Bánh Gai

Here are the main features that people should consider closely when having bánh gai:


  • Nutrient Content: Ingredients like mung beans in the filling are a good source of protein and fiber.
  • Vegetarian-Friendly: Many versions of bánh gai are vegetarian, making them suitable for those following a plant-based diet.
  • Sweet Treat: It serves as a delightful dessert or snack for those who enjoy sweet flavors combined with the unique texture of glutinous rice.


  • Limited Nutritional Variety: While it provides certain nutrients, bánh gai is not a comprehensive source of all essential vitamins and minerals.
  • High in Carbohydrates: Being primarily made of glutinous rice flour, it can be high in carbohydrates, which might not be ideal for those on low-carb or ketogenic diets.

Aside from these aspects, it’s also a wise thing for you to take a look at some of the common concerns about bánh gai.

Bánh Gai FAQs

Bánh gai is often enjoyed during festivals and celebrations, but it can also be found as a regular snack or dessert in Vietnamese cuisine.

Yes, bánh gai can be stored for a few days at room temperature. Alternatively, once the wrapper is removed, it’s best kept in an airtight container at room temperature or refrigerated to extend its shelf life.

No, bánh gai contains pork fat as part of its composition. However, the cake is easily customized to a vegan diet by omitting the pork fat element for other plant-based substitutions.

No, bánh gai is not suitable for freezing as the thawing process will ruin the texture and filling of the cake.

Similar Dishes of Bánh Gai

Banh It

Bánh ít is a popular Vietnamese cake made from glutinous rice flour and mung bean using a steaming method.

Banh Tro

Bánh tro is a traditional Vietnamese pyramidal dumpling made from glutinous rice soaked in ash water.

Banh U

Bánh ú is a Vietnamese glutinous rice dumpling, savored in sweet or savory varieties and significant in Tết Đoan Ngọ.

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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