Bánh Ú

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

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
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Fact: In Vietnam, bánh ú is especially popular during the Đoan Ngọ festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.

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Basic Information

Bánh Ú: Basic Information

Pronunciation

/Bahn u/

Alternative Name(s)

Bánh bá trạng

Dish Type

Dumplings, glutinous rice dishes

Course

Main Course

Mealtime

Anytime
Origin and Region

Bánh Ú: 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 Ú Variations

Ingredients and Preparation

Bánh Ú: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Pork, Chinese sausage, dried shrimp, salted egg yolk, and shiitake mushrooms (for the savory version); mung bean paste, peanut, red bean paste, shredded coconut meat, and banana (for the sweet version)

Main Cooking Method

Boiling

Preparation Process

Soak glutinous rice, prepare filling (mung bean, pork), wrap in banana leaves into a pyramid shape, and steam until cooked. Often tied with bamboo string.
A Deep Dive

Bánh Ú: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

A traditional dish, often made during special occasions like Tết Đoan Ngọ

Taste

Savory and slightly sweet (depending on filling)

Texture

Sticky and soft from the glutinous rice, with varying texture from fillings

Aroma

Fragrant aroma from banana leaves and glutinous rice

Color

White or slightly yellowish rice with color variations depending on filling

Serving Style

Usually served wrapped in banana leaves, unwrapped before eating

Serving Temperature

Warm or at room temperature

Accompaniment

Often eaten alone or with tea

Occasions

Festivals

Seasons

Summer

Special Diets

Gluten-free

Calories

229 calories, according to data of MyFitnessPal for 3.5 ounces of bánh ú.

Popularity

Vietnam

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Bánh Chưng
  2. Bánh Tét
  3. Bánh Ít
  4. Bánh Giò
  5. Zongzi

Popular Dining Area

Street vendors, households

Bánh ú, also known as bánh bá trạng, is a pyramidal glutinous rice dumpling that is particularly significant in Tết Đoan Ngọ (Đoan Ngọ festivals) in Vietnamese cuisine.

Banh U Overview

Bánh ú can be wrapped in leaves such as banana, Dong, or bamboo leaves. Interestingly, bánh ú has its origins in China and is related to the Chinese zongzi. This connection highlights the cultural and culinary exchanges between Vietnam and China.

There are primarily two varieties of this dish: savory and sweet. The savory version is commonly filled with a mix of pork, Chinese sausage, dried shrimp, salted egg yolk, and shiitake mushrooms.

Another variation, known as bánh ú lá tro, is a sweet treat made from glutinous rice flour that’s dipped in lye water with a mung bean filling.

Let’s delve into the world of bánh ú: examining its main components, renowned versions, comparing it with bánh ít and bánh giò, sources for buying, pros and cons, typical questions, and comparable dishes.

Key Points

  • Culturally, bánh ú is a traditional dish made for special occasions like Tết Đoan Ngọ
  • Bánh ú can be wrapped in various leaves like banana, Dong, or bamboo, highlighting its diverse preparation methods.
  • Bánh ú originated in China, illustrating the cultural and culinary exchanges between Vietnam and China.

Bánh Ú Images

What Are The Main Ingredients of Bánh Ú?

Here’s a detailed overview of the essential ingredients used in bánh ú, including their specific features:

Glutinous Rice

Glutinous Rice

Aged glutinous rice, preferably one-year-old, is preferred for its powdery texture. It is soaked in ash water overnight or until the grains soften adequately

Nhan Man Ngot

Fillings

Savory fillings: Pork, Chinese sausage, dried shrimp, and shiitake mushrooms, salted egg yolk are typical ingredients for the savory version.

Sweet fillings: can be mung bean paste, peanut, red bean paste, shredded coconut meat, and banana.

Depending on the recipe, additional ingredients like peanuts, dried shrimp, quail egg, wood ear mushrooms, cashew, lotus seed can be used

La Dong

Wrapping

The cake is wrapped in bamboo or banana leaves, which are carefully prepared to ensure they are tender and pliable

Exploring the main ingredients of bánh ú reveals the culinary versatility of this dish, paving the way for different variations of bánh ú, each uniquely flavored by its distinct blend of components.

What Are Different Variations of Bánh Ú?

Below is a description of four major variants of bánh ú, along with their specific characteristics:

Banh Tro

This dish is known for its distinctive taste, chewy texture. It’s typically sold in sets of ten, knotted together by strings of a grass called Lepironia articulata.

Banh U Nhan Man

This dish features a soft and fragrant glutinous rice crust with a savory filling.

Banh U 3 Mau

This variation of bánh ú is a creative twist on the traditional recipe, featuring 3 colors.

Banh U Hat Dieu

This variation has a distinctive filling with a mix of soft glutinous rice, rich pork belly, and creamy cashew nuts, offering a complex and satisfying taste.

Exploring these variations of bánh ú not only showcases the versatility of this traditional Vietnamese dish but also highlights the distinction from bánh ít, primarily in terms of fillings and presentation.

What Are the Differences Between Bánh Ú and Bánh Ít?

Both Bánh Ú and Bánh Ít are both Vietnamese dishes with pyramid shapes. However, each features unique characteristics and variations, reflecting the rich culinary heritage of Vietnam:

Having explored the unique characteristics of bánh ú and bánh ít, let’s now delve into understanding how bánh ú differs from another popular Vietnamese delicacy, bánh giò.

How do Bánh Ú and Bánh Giò Differ from Each Other?

Bánh ú and bánh giò are both pyramid dumplings in Vietnamese cuisine, but they have distinctions:

To further explore the unique flavors of bánh ú and bánh giò, and perhaps even try them yourself, it’s a good idea to look for local Vietnamese markets or specialty stores where these delightful dumplings are sold.

Where to Buy Bánh Ú?

Highlighted below are the premier spots for purchasing bánh ú in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi:

In Ho Chi Minh City (for Bánh Ú Mặn)

Bánh Bá Trạng Đại Phát
Address: 738 Su Van Hanh, Ward 12, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City
Bánh Bá Trạng Cô Phượng
Address: 56C/67 Lac Long Quan Street, Ward 3, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City
Bánh Bá Trạng Như Lan
Address:
Branch 1: No. 365 Hai Ba Trung, Ward 8, District 3 (opposite Tan Dinh Market and District 1 Hospital)
Branch 2: Như Lan 50 Ham Nghi, District 1 (opposite Bitexco Building)
Branch 3: Như Lan 68 Ham Nghi, District 1 next to the old market (opposite Vietnam Industrial and Commercial Bank)

In Hanoi (for Bánh Ú Tro)

Bánh Ú Tro Cô Hải
Address: 79 Pho Hue, Ngo Thi Nham, Hai Ba Trung.
Bánh Tro at Dong Xuan Market
Address: Dong Xuan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Bánh Ú Tro Vạn Thịnh
Address: Kim Hoa, Dong Da, Hanoi

While exploring these locations, consider the advantages and disadvantages of bánh ú, such as its unique flavor profile and dietary restrictions, to ensure it suits your taste and needs.

Pros and Cons of Eating Bánh Ú

It’s the right time to weigh the merits and demerits of bánh ú:

Pros

  • Cultural Significance: Bánh ú holds a special place in Vietnamese culture, often made during important festivals and family gatherings, making it a symbol of tradition and heritage.
  • Flavorful and Diverse Fillings: These dumplings can be filled with a variety of ingredients like mung beans, pork, or even sweet fillings, offering a rich and diverse taste experience.
  • Nutritious Ingredients: Made with glutinous rice, which is a good source of carbohydrates, and often combined with protein-rich fillings, bánh ú can be quite nutritious.
  • Portability and Convenience: Their small size and the fact that they are wrapped in banana leaves make them easy to transport and consume on the go.

Cons

  • Time-Consuming Preparation: The process of making bánh ú can be quite labor-intensive and time-consuming, requiring skill and patience.
  • Caloric Density: Being made primarily of glutinous rice, they can be high in calories, which might be a concern for those monitoring their caloric intake.
  • Limited Shelf Life: Since they are made with fresh ingredients and without preservatives, bánh ú does not have a long shelf life and is best eaten fresh.
  • Allergen Potential: For individuals with food allergies, certain filling ingredients, such as nuts or seafood, could pose a risk.

As well, remember to peruse the often inquired questions

Bánh Ú FAQs

It can be, depending on the filling. Bánh ú with mung bean filling is suitable for vegetarians and vegans, while versions with meat are not.

Yes, bánh ú can be frozen. To reheat, simply steam the frozen cake until it’s thoroughly warm. The texture and taste should remain largely unchanged.

Since the main ingredient is glutinous rice, which does not contain gluten, bánh ú is generally considered gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities. However, it’s important to check the fillings for any additional ingredients that may contain gluten.

Similar Dishes of Bánh Ú

Banh Chung

Bánh chưng is a Vietnamese square sticky rice cake made of glutinous rice, mung beans, and pork, all wrapped in lá dong leaves.

Banh Tet

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

Banh It

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

Banh Gio

Bánh giò is a Vietnamese steamed savory rice cake wrapped in banana leaves with pork and mushroom filling.

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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