In Vietnamese, the term bánh (Hanoi: [ɓaʲŋ˧˥] or Saigon: [ɓan˧˥]) translates loosely as "cake" or "bread", referring to a wide variety of prepared foods. With the addition of qualifying adjectives, bánh refers to a wide variety of sweet or savoury, distinct cakes, buns, pastries, sandwiches, and other food items, which may be cooked by steaming, baking, frying, deep-frying, or boiling. Foods made from rice or wheat flour are generally called bánh, but the term may also refer to certain varieties of noodle and fish cake dishes, such as bánh canh and bánh hỏi.
Each variety of bánh is designated by a descriptive word or phrase that follows the word bánh, such as bánh bò (literally "cow cake" or "crawling cake") or bánh chuối (literally "banana cake"). Bánh that are wrapped in leaves before steaming are called bánh lá (literally "leaf cakes").
In Vietnamese, the term bánh is not limited to Vietnamese cuisine: it applies equally to items as varied as fortune cookies (bánh may mắn), pudding, caramel custard (bánh caramen), and sacramental bread (Bánh Thánh). In some cases, the word can also refer to inedibles that have a cake-like shape, such as car tires, bath soaps, and compressed tobacco wheels.
There is a nearly endless variety of named dishes with the prefix bánh. What follows is a list of the most typical traditional varieties of bánh.
- Bánh canh - tapioca noodles which are cut from a large sheet.
- Bánh hỏi - extremely thin noodles that are woven into intricate bundles and often topped with chopped scallions and a complementary meat dish
- Bánh phở - The steamed flat and thin cake made from rice flour and water before being cut into strips. The strips are not only called Bánh phở but also "con phở" or "cọng phở," noodles that are used in phở. The width of the strips is usually around 1 cm or less.
- Bánh bá trạng (Bak Chang dumplings) - like Chinese zongzi
- Bánh baophoto - ball-shaped bun filled with pork and/or other ingredients
- Bánh bột lọc - tapioca cake packed with shrimp
- Bánh bột lọc trầnphoto - dumplings with wrappers made of tapioca starch; similar to Chaozhou fun guo
- Bánh bột lọc láphoto - tiny rice flour dumplings stuffed with shrimp and ground pork and wrapped in a banana leaf; from Hue
- Bánh cam - deep-fried glutinous rice sesame balls filled with sweetened mung bean paste; from southern Vietnam
- Bánh ít - small stuffed glutinous rice flour balls
- Bánh ít trầnphoto - "naked" small stuffed glutinous rice flour balls
- Bánh khúcphoto - glutinous rice ball
- Bánh nậmphoto - flat rice flour dumpling from Hue stuffed with minced pork and mushroom, and seasoned with pepper and spices; wrapped in a banana leaf
- Bánh phu thêphoto - (literally "husband and wife cake"; a sweet cake made of rice or tapioca flour and gelatin, filled with mung bean paste; also spelled bánh xu xê)
- Bánh phu thê bột bán (husband and wife cakes made with tapioca pearls)
- Bánh rán - deep-fried glutinous rice sesame balls filled with sweetened mung bean paste; from northern Vietnam
- Bánh tẻ, small steamed rice cake wrapped with Lá dong leaves into a long, thin cylindrical shape, and boiled thoroughly.
- Bánh bèophoto - small steamed savory rice cakes
- Bánh cănphoto - a southern specialty consisting of small pancakes made with quail eggs, cooked in small clay pans
- Bánh đúc, rice cake or corn cake eaten as a dessert or savory meal
- Bánh rế - deep-fried pancake
- Bánh khọtphoto - a southern specialty consisting of small, fried rice flour pancakes
- Bánh xèo - a fried rice cake with shrimp and pork
- Bánh cuốn - steamed rice roll
- Bánh tôm - shrimp patties
- Bánh tôm Hồ Tây - a shrimp patty made from deep fried julienned sweet potatoes - specialty originating from the area around West Lake (Tay Ho), Hanoi
Durian green leaf cake Bánh da lợn sầu riêng
Bánh in nhân sầu riêng
Sweet Rice Flour, Mung Bean and Durian Cake
- Bánh bò - "cow cake," made from glutinous rice flour and coconut milk, with a honeycomb-like texture
- Bánh cáy, rectangular-shaped sweet dessert made by roasting and grinding glutinous rice and other ingredients
- Bánh da lợn - colored steamed layer cake made from tapioca starch, rice flour, coconut milk and/or water, sugar, and other ingredients
- Bánh đúc - rice cake or corn cake eaten as a dessert or savory meal
- Bánh chuối - banana cake
- Bánh khoai mì - sweet cassava cake
- Bánh khoai môn - taro cake
- Bánh tiêu - hollow doughnutsphoto
- Bánh trung thu - mooncake
Dishes for special occasions
- Bánh chưng - square-shaped steamed glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in a dong leaf (lá dong)
- Bánh tét - log-shaped cylindrical glutinous rice cake, wrapped in a banana leaf and filled with a meat or vegetarian filling
- Bánh trôi photo (literally "floating rice cake") - served together with bánh chay
- Bánh tô - a round, golden/taupe colored, sticky cake served for new years. It's made of glutinous rice flour, sugar, water, and soybean oil. Like the Chinese new year cake, neen gow, the bánh tô is cut into thin slices then dipped in egg and fried before serving. This is an uncommon pastry and it's said the shape represents a wheel. It is sometimes decorated with white sesame seeds and red food coloring. (cf Kue Keranjang in Indonesia)
- Bánh bông lan - sponge cake
- Bánh chay - served together with bánh trôi
- Bánh cốm - green rice cake made using cốm with mung bean filling
- Bánh đa (Northern) or Bánh tráng nướng (Southern)- rice cracker
- Bánh đậu xanhphoto - sweet mung bean paste
- Bánh dừa
- Bánh gai - made from the leaves of the "gai" tree (Boehmeria nivea) dried, boiled, ground into small pieces, then mixed with glutinous rice, wrapped in banana leaf. The filling is made from a mixture of coconut, mung bean, peanuts, winter melon, sesames, and lotus seeds.
- Bánh giầy, also written as bánh dầy - white, flat, round glutinous rice cake with tough, chewy texture filled with mung bean or served with Vietnamese sausage (Giò lụa)
- Bánh giò - pyramid shaped rice dough dumplings filled with pork, shallot, and wood ear mushroom wrapped in banana leaf
- Bánh hoa hồngphoto - rice cake that is shaped like a flower and made with mung bean paste
- Bánh ít lá gai - triangular dumpling wrapped in ramie leaf, similar to Chinese zongzi
- Bánh kẹp - Vietnamese waffle cookies made from rice flour - like a Pizzelle
- Bánh mật - Molasses-sweetened glutinous rice cake (filled with green bean paste or groundnut)
- Bánh lá dừa - Cake wrapped in coconut leaf
- Bánh phồng tôm - prawn cracker
- Bánh phục linh
- Bánh quế
- Bánh tráng mè
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