Bánh Lá Dừa

Bánh lá dừa is a Vietnamese cake in the Mekong Delta, made with glutinous rice and wrapped in coconut leaves.

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
  • Street Food
  • Traditional
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Fact: Bánh lá dừa tied with yellow nylon threads are filled with mung beans, while those with green nylon threads have banana fillings.

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Basic Information

Bánh Lá Dừa: Basic Information

Pronunciation

/bahn la doo-ah/

Alternative Name(s)

No

Dish Type

Glutinous rice dishes, cakes and pastries, boiled dishes

Course

Non-course dish

Mealtime

Anytime
Origin and Region

Bánh Lá Dừa: Origin and Region

Origin

Vietnam

Continent’s Region

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

Mekong Delta

Associated Region

Ben Tre
Vietnam Map
A Deep Dive

Popular Bánh Lá Dừa Variations

Ingredients and Preparation

Bánh Lá Dừa: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Glutinous rice, catjang peas, coconut milk, bananas or mung beans and shredded coconut meat

Main Cooking Method

Boiling

Preparation Process

Preparing the glutinous rice mixture, wrapping bánh lá dừa in coconut leaves, boiling bánh lá dừa
A Deep Dive

Bánh Lá Dừa: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

Traditional dish with rustic appeal in the Mekong Delta

Taste

Sweet

Texture

Chewy

Aroma

Mildly sweet, with the aromas of coconut leaves

Color

Yellowish-white covering, dark purple interior

Serving Style

Unwrapped and eaten with hands

Serving Temperature

At room temperature

Accompaniment

No accompaniment

Occasions

On any occasions

Seasons

Year-round

Special Diets

Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Calories

180 calories, according to data of MyFitnessPal for one serving (3.5 ounces or 100 grams) of bánh lá dừa filled with mung beans.

Popularity

Vietnam, especially in the Mekong Delta

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Bánh Tét
  2. Suman
  3. Tamale
  4. Lemper
  5. Hallaca
  6. Ketupat

Popular Dining Area

Local pastry shops and street vendors

Bánh lá dừa, literally “cake wrapped in banana leaves,” is a traditional Vietnamese boiled cake and street food hailing from the Mekong Delta.

Banh La Dua Infographic

It originated in Ben Tre Province, Vietnam’s largest coconut-cultivating region.

Bánh lá dừa consists of glutinous rice, catjang peas (a type of cowpea), coconut milk, and bananas or split mung beans for the filling.

The glutinous rice is sometimes stir-fried with shredded coconut meat.

People wrap each cake in multiple strips of dehydrated young coconut leaflets into a thick, cucumber-sized roll and tie it with thin nylon threads.

The cakes are then boiled in water for at least 6 hours before being let to drain.

Bánh lá dừa has many positive traits and a few shortcomings, which I will tell you about shortly.
Next, I will cover commonly asked questions about this Southern Vietnamese specialty before suggesting similar dishes.

Key Points

  • Bánh lá dừa is a Vietnamese cake that is wrapped in banana leaves and originated in the southern province of Ben Tre.
  • Bánh lá dừa is very popular in the Mekong Delta.
  • Bánh lá dừa consists of glutinous rice, coconut milk, catjang peas, and mung beans or bananas.
  • The color of the nylon threads binding the coconut leaf wrappings of bánh lá dừa indicates the filling inside.

Bánh Lá Dừa Images

What Are Popular Variations of Bánh Lá Dừa?

Based on the filling, there are two main variations of bánh lá dừa with the following characteristics:

Banh La Dua Nhan Dau

Filled with split mung beans cooked in coconut milk
Fastened with yellow nylon threads

Banh La Dua Nhan Chuoi

Filled with sliced ripe bananas
Fastened with green nylon threads

These two versions display many positive and negative traits of bánh lá dừa in general.

Pros and Cons of Eating Bánh Lá Dừa

Bánh lá dừa has the following advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • Unique Flavor: Bánh lá dừa offers a distinctive taste that combines the sweetness of glutinous rice with the richness of coconut milk and the faint aroma of coconut leaves.
  • Cultural Significance: Bánh lá dừa showcases the rustic beauty of Southern Vietnamese culinary heritage. Many people in the Mekong Delta consider it a nostalgic childhood treat associated with many dear memories.
  • Dietary Flexibility: People on a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free deity can freely enjoy bánh lá dừa.
  • Portability: Bánh lá dừa’s packaging in coconut leaves makes it easy to transport and consume on the go.
  • Affordability: Bánh lá dừa is inexpensive and easily accessible to people from all economic backgrounds.

Cons

  • Nutritional Content: Like many traditional Vietnamese cakes, bánh lá dừa can be high in sugar and carbs.
  • Limited Availability: As a specialty of the Mekong Delta, especially Ben Tre province, authentic bánh lá dừa is difficult to find outside this region.
  • Challenging Preparation: Wrapping and cooking bánh lá dừa require a great deal of time and cooking expertise.

You nearly know every detail about bánh lá dừa; check out the FAQs to complete your understanding of this Vietnamese glutinous rice dish.

Bánh Lá Dừa FAQs

Bánh lá dừa can stay fresh for 2 – 3 days at room temperature (if stored in a dry, cool place), 5 – 7 days in the fridge, and about 2 months in the freezer.

No, bánh lá dừa doesn’t have any artificial preservatives. Therefore, it can make a great snack for health-conscious individuals. Its long shelf life comes from the unique packaging and the boiling process.

Similar Dishes of Bánh Lá Dừa

Banh Tet

Bánh tét is a Southern Vietnamese cylindrical rice cake with mung bean and pork, wrapped in banana leaves.

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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