Bánh Nhãn

Bánh nhãn is a Vietnamese crispy fried cake made from glutinous or ordinary rice flour, shaped like a longan fruit.

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
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Fact: Bánh nhãn is an essential snack during Tet (the Lunar New Year) in Northern Vietnam.

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Basic Information

Bánh Nhãn: Basic Information

Pronunciation

/bahn nyahn/

Alternative Name(s)

Bánh cà, bánh bi

Dish Type

Snacks, fried dishes

Course

Non-course dish

Mealtime

Anytime

Popular Variations

No
Origin and Region

Bánh Nhãn: Origin and Region

Origin

Vietnam

Continent’s Region

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

Northern Vietnam

Associated Region

Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An
Vietnam Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Bánh Nhãn: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Glutinous or ordinary rice flour, eggs, pork lard, and sugar

Main Cooking Method

Deep-frying

Preparation Process

Mix ingredients, shape into small balls, deep fry, then coat with a sugar syrup glaze.
A Deep Dive

Bánh Nhãn: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

Traditional dessert, often made during New Year in Northern Vietnam

Taste

Sweet

Texture

Crispy and crunchy outside, soft and moist inside

Aroma

Fragrant

Color

Golden brown

Serving Style

Individual servings

Serving Temperature

At room temperature

Accompaniment

Usually served alone or with tea

Occasions

New Year

Seasons

Year-round, spring

Special Diets

Gluten-free

Calories

Unspecified

Popularity

Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An in Northern Vietnam

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Bánh Rán
  2. Bánh Cam
  3. Chuối Chiên

Popular Dining Area

Street vendors, households

Bánh nhãn, also known as bánh cà or bánh bi, is a type of Vietnamese crispy fried cake originating from Northern Vietnam.

Banh Nhan Overview

Made from either glutinous or ordinary rice flour, this cake includes eggs, pork lard, and sugar and is fried until crispy. Its shape is reminiscent of a longan fruit, lending the cake its name.

It’s a specialty in several northern regions of Vietnam, such as Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa, and Nghe An. Bánh nhãn Hải Hậu from Nam Định province is particularly renowned.

The variety from Thanh Hoa has subtle differences; it’s made from regular rice flour and sometimes coated with black sesame seeds for added color.

Authentic bánh nhãn has a characteristic golden brown color. Its texture is crispy and crunchy on the outside, with a dense and moist interior.

The flavor of bánh nhãn is described as sweet and mildly rich, with a pleasing aroma and a unique blend of sweetness and nuttiness.

Key Points

  • Bánh nhãn is crafted from a mixture of rice flour (either glutinous or regular), eggs, pork lard, and sugar.
  • Bánh nhãn is deep-fried to achieve a crisp texture, resembling the shape of a longan fruit.
  • Bánh nhãn is particularly popular in the northern parts of Vietnam, notably in regions like Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa, and Nghe An.

Bánh Nhãn Images

Pros and Cons of Eating Bánh Nhãn

Let’s weigh the benefits and drawbacks of bánh nhãn:

Pros

  • Cultural Significance: Bánh nhãn is a traditional Vietnamese specialty, particularly popular in northern regions like Nam Định, Thanh Hoá, and Nghệ An. It’s a part of the rich culinary heritage of Vietnam.
  • Unique Flavor and Texture: The careful selection of sticky rice flour and skillful preparation contribute to its unique crispy texture and delicate flavor.
  • Energy-Providing Ingredients: The combination of sticky rice flour, sugar, and pork lard makes it a rich source of carbohydrates and fats, providing quick energy.

Cons

  • Not Diet-Friendly: Due to its high fat and sugar content, it might not be suitable for those on low-fat or low-sugar diets.
  • Requires Moderation: Like many traditional pastries, bánh nhãn is best enjoyed in moderation, especially for individuals mindful of their calorie intake.

Besides, consider checking the questions that are commonly posed.

Bánh Nhãn FAQs

Yes, if properly prepared and stored in a dry, airtight container away from sunlight and wind.

The traditional recipe includes pork lard and chicken eggs, so it might not be suitable for vegetarians unless modified.

Since it’s made with rice flour, bánh nhãn is naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.

Similar Dishes of Bánh Nhãn

Banh Ran

Bánh rán is a Vietnamese deep-fried glutinous rice ball coated in sesame seeds and filled with a savory mix of ground pork or sweet mung bean paste that is enjoyed as a snack.

Banh Cam

Bánh cam is a Vietnamese deep-fried glutinous rice ball filled with sweet mung bean paste and dipped in sugar syrup.

Chuoi Chien

Chuối chiên is a popular Vietnamese street food snack of delicious fried banana fritters, known for being crisp and slightly sweet.

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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