Bánh Trung Thu

Bánh trung thu is a traditional Vietnamese mooncake with two varieties of sticky or baked pastry.

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
  • Fusion
  • Traditional
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Fact: In 2023, two bánh trung thu were created, each weighing 200 kilograms (440.9 lbs), setting the record for the largest mooncakes in Vietnam.

Flag of Vietnam#26 in Vietnam

Basic Information

Bánh Trung Thu: Basic Information

Pronunciation

/bahn choong too/

Alternative Name(s)

No

Dish Type

Cakes and pastries, and desserts

Course

Dessert

Mealtime

Anytime
Origin and Region

Bánh Trung Thu: 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 Trung Thu Variations

Ingredients and Preparation

Bánh Trung Thu: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

All-purpose flour, nuts, seeds

Main Cooking Method

Baking

Preparation Process

The dough is prepared and flattened for wrap around the filling before being pressed in a mold
A Deep Dive

Bánh Trung Thu: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

A traditional Vietnamese pastry during the Mid-Autumn Festival

Taste

Sweet, savory

Texture

Dense, rich, soft

Aroma

Mild

Color

Golden brown (baked), white (sticky)

Serving Style

As a handheld item cut into wedges

Serving Temperature

At room temperature

Accompaniment

Tea, coffee

Occasions

Festivals

Seasons

Fall

Special Diets

Non diet-specific

Calories

783 calories, according to data of MyFitnessPal for a Banh Trung Thu cake.

Popularity

China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Modak
  2. Hopia
  3. Bánh Pía

Popular Dining Area

At local stores and bakeries in Vietnam

Bánh trung thu is a Vietnamese mooncake that is often enjoyed during the Mid-Autumn Festival. While Vietnamese cake is a fusion inspired by traditional Chinese mooncakes, bánh trung thu in Vietnam typically comes in two varieties: baked or sticky.

Banh Trung Thu Infographic

Typically available in square or round shapes, bánh trung thu fillings range from sweet (such as nuts or seeds) to savory (like sausage or ham). Normally, the filling is also joined by a salted egg yolk in the middle.

Interestingly, Vietnamese mooncakes are also shaped into animals, like a pack of piglets with their mother or carp. Like regular mooncakes, bánh trung thu is also pressed with mold to have some Chinese characters on the surface.

In Vietnam, bánh trung thu is easily spotted during the Mid-Autumn Festival, with numerous stores selling this pastry around two months ahead of the festival’s actual date. Vietnamese locals often buy bánh trung thu as a gift between families.

When you’re ready, jump into the cultural signature of mooncakes to the Vietnamese and its variants before discovering the traditional and modern fillings of this cake.

Then, uncover the process of making this Vietnamese mooncake. Also, you should know more about the positive and negative features of eating this cake.

In addition, I suggest diving into the differences between traditional and modern versions of bánh trung thu, along with a few inquiries relating to it. Then, explore some specialties that are like bánh trung thu.

Key Points

  • Bánh trung thu is a Vietnamese mooncake that is eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
  • The mooncake can be baked or sticky and has a sweet or savory filling, usually with a salted egg yolk in the center.
  • Bánh trung thu is available in square, round, or animal shapes.
  • The mooncake is sold widely in Vietnam before the festival.

Bánh Trung Thu Images

What Is The Cultural Significance of Bánh Trung Thu During the Mid-Autumn Festival?

Bánh trung thu holds significant importance in the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, particularly in Vietnamese culture. The aspects of eating mooncakes, drinking tea, and the Mid-Autumn lantern culture are central to this festival.

  • Eating bánh trung thu: Bánh trung thu is the hallmark of the festival. These pastries symbolize reunion and completeness, reflecting the full moon’s shape. Families and friends share mooncakes as a gesture of unity and harmony.
  • Drinking tea: Accompanying the mooncakes with tea is a traditional practice. Elders often munch on the small pieces of cake accompanied by a sip of tea to balance the palates.
  • Mid-Autumn lantern culture: The lantern parade is a vibrant and joyful activity, especially significant for children. Lanterns, often in the shape of animals, stars, or the moon, are often used. Nowadays, electric lanterns flood the market but the original versions still hold a crucial role.

Once you’ve grasped hold of the role and traditions that revolve around bánh trung thu, discover its many variants that will surprise you.

What Are the Variants of Bánh Trung Thu?

In Vietnam, bánh trung thu has endless variations that are made using all sorts of ingredients. However, I’ll keep it simple by introducing you to 3 most popular variants of bánh trung thu in Vietnam:

Banh Trung Thu Nuong

Baked mooncake with a firm, golden-brown crust
Traditionally filled with lotus seed paste, mung bean paste, or mixed nuts, and often includes a salted egg yolk
The savory versions include barbecued meat, ham, Chinese sausage, and various elements

Banh Trung Thu Deo

Sticky mooncake with a soft texture
Has a variety of sweet fillings

Banh Trung Thu Rau Cau

Made with jelly
Has a similar filling like the baked mooncake
The filling is usually softer

Banh Trung Thu Con Heo

The pastry is shaped into a mother pig with its pack of piglets
The filling is usually sweet bean paste

Banh Trung Thu Chay

A vegetarian version of bánh trung thu
Usually has a sweet filling

Next, don’t forget to explore the popular filling of bánh trung thu to expand your options of this pastry.

What Are Popular Fillings of Bánh Trung Thu?

Bánh trung thu in Vietnam takes on various forms of fillings, giving it multiple options in terms of flavors. Typically, bánh trung thu has a few traditional and modern fillings that you should know.

Traditional Fillings

To get to know bánh trung thu, the traditional fillings are a great place to start with 8 common options:

Banh Trung Thu Hat Sen

Smooth, sweet, luxurious, made from lotus seeds, classic mooncake filling

Banh Trung Thu Dau Xanh

Creamy, sweet, made from mung beans, a popular choice in Vietnamese mooncakes

Banh Trung Thu Dau Do

Earthy, sweet flavor, made from azuki beans

Banh Trung Thu Thap Cam Hat

Rich, textured mix of various seeds

Banh Trung Thu Khoai Mon

Sweet, smooth, made from taro root, offers a unique flavor.

Banh Trung Thu Nhan Thap Cam Man

Savory, sweetened pork floss with barbeque meat and Chinese sausage

Afterward, make sure not to miss the delightful adaptations in terms of filling for the modern versions of bánh trung thu.

Modern Fillings

Aside from the classic options, modern versions of bánh trung thu with interesting fillings still attract much attention from Vietnamese:

Banh Trung Thu Sau Rieng

Strong aroma, distinctive taste

Banh Trung Thu Nhan Socola

Rich chocolate ganache or chocolate bits, offering a modern, sweet twist

Banh Trung Thu Nhan Tra Xanh

Infused with green tea or matcha powder for a subtle, aromatic flavor

Banh Trung Thu Nhan Lava

Has a liquid sweet sauce filling

Banh Trung Thu Nhan Pho Mai

Cream cheese or soft cheeses for a creamy, savory-sweet filling

Banh Trung Thu Tiramisu

Inspired by the Italian dessert, with ladyfingers in the filling

Banh Trung Thu Nhan Tra Sua

Tapioca pearls and tea-flavored fillings, inspired by the popular bubble tea drink

After discovering the fillings of bánh trung thu, dive deeper into the treat by looking into the process of creating this cake.

How to Make Bánh Trung Thu?

Bánh trung thu can be produced in various ways; for that, I’d like to show the process of creating a basic Vietnamese bánh trung thu:

Step 1: Dough Preparation

Combine all purpose flour with a mixture of baking elements and sweeteners, including peanut butter if you’re looking to make the baked version.

Step 2: Filling Preparation

Cook and mash lotus seeds or red beans into a paste, then thicken with sugar and oil. For fillings with salted egg yolks, wrap the paste around the yolks.

Step 3: Assembling Mooncakes

Divide the dough into portions, flatten each, add a ball of filling in the center, wrap the dough around the filling, and shape it using a mooncake mold.

Step 4: Cooking

Baked mooncakes are brushed with egg wash and baked until golden.

Sticky mooncakes are simply cooked until the dough is translucent.

Step 5: Cooling and Serving

Let the mooncakes cool completely before serving, with baked varieties often benefiting from a day or two of resting for flavor development.

In case you have any dietary restrictions, make sure to check out the good and bad benefits of consuming Vietnamese mooncakes.

Pros and Cons of Eating Bánh Trung Thu

These are some of the features that usually influence your decision for consuming bánh trung thu:

Pros

  • Variety of Flavors: With a range of fillings from sweet (like lotus seed or bean paste) to savory (like ham or sausage), it caters to diverse palates.
  • Nutritional Value: Depending on the filling, these mooncakes can be a source of energy, protein (especially those with egg yolks), and beneficial fats from nuts and seeds.
  • Festive Atmosphere: Consuming bánh trung thu is often associated with festive celebrations, adding to the joy and ambiance of special occasions.

Cons

  • Sugar Content: The high sugar content can be a concern for people with diabetes or those watching their sugar intake.
  • Allergens: Common ingredients like nuts, eggs, and gluten can be problematic for those with allergies.

Remember, you can always find out more information about bánh trung thu by looking into a comparison between modern and traditional versions of this pastry treat.

How Is Traditional Bánh Trung Thu Different from the Modern Version?

Traditional bánh trung thu and modern adaptations of the cake have many differences in Vietnam. Therefore, let me guide you through some of the notable features that set traditional and modern mooncakes of Vietnam apart:

That’s not it for bánh trung thu, since this pastry has many more interesting things to offer, with many answers for common concerns of readers.

Bánh Trung Thu FAQs

Due to its high sugar content, it’s best consumed in moderation by diabetics.

The egg yolk represents the moon and adds a savory balance to the sweet filling.

Traditional recipes contain gluten, but gluten-free versions can be made.

Its shelf life can extend to several weeks, depending on the expiration date. Once opened and exposed from the package, it’s best consumed within two or three days.

Traditional Chinese teas like oolong or jasmine tea are popular choices.

Similar Dishes of Bánh Trung Thu

Banh Pia

Bánh pía is a Vietnamese treat featuring a flaky pastry crust and various sweet or savory fillings.

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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