Traditional Banh Chung Recipe for Lunar New Year Celebrations

Authentic Banh Chung Recipe - Perfect for Lunar New Year Celebrations

Discover the art of crafting perfect banh chung, a quintessential Vietnamese Lunar New Year delicacy. Learn how to create a meaty, hefty, and tightly rolled cake that embodies the spirit of Tet celebrations.

Banh chung is more than just a dish; it’s a love letter from home, a symbol of cultural heritage, and a delicious way to ring in the Lunar New Year. This recipe, adapted from traditional methods, will guide you through creating this iconic Vietnamese treat.

Authentic Lunar New Year Banh Chung


  • 5 1/4 cups long-grain sticky rice (soaked overnight and drained before assembly)
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut juice (not coconut cream)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
  • Cold water
  • 2 2/3 cup dried, hulled, and split yellow mung beans (soaked overnight and drained before assembly)
  • Cold water
  • 1 1/4 pounds pork chop (or pork butt), with some skin and fat
  • 1 medium Vidalia or Spanish onion, minced
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • 3 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or other neutral oil (if frying cakes)

Serve with Pickled Shallots:

  • 10 ounces (about 2 cups) small shallots, unpeeled
  • Boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons salt, dissolved in 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar


  1. Prepare the Pickled Shallots: Begin by placing the shallots in a heatproof bowl and covering them with boiling water. Let them sit for 2-3 minutes until the skins loosen. Drain and cool with cold water, then peel the shallots.
  2. Soak the peeled shallots in the salt solution overnight or up to 24 hours to mellow their flavor.
  3. Rinse the shallots thoroughly under cold water. In a saucepan, bring the sugar and vinegar to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the shallots, bring to a simmer, then immediately remove from heat. Transfer the shallots to a jar and pour the hot vinegar solution over them. Cool, cover, and refrigerate.
  4. Allow the pickled shallots to mature for 5 days before serving. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.
  5. Prepare Ingredients the Night Before: Soak bamboo leaves in a large roasting pan, keeping them submerged with a plate.
  6. Cut the pork into 3x2x1/2 inch pieces, ensuring each has some fat and skin. Marinate overnight with onion, fish sauce, and pepper.
  7. Rinse and soak mung beans overnight in cold water.
  8. Morning Prep: Steam the mung beans for about 8 minutes until tender. Cool and process to a fluffy consistency.
  9. Mix salt into the drained rice. Rinse bamboo leaves and prepare banana leaves if using.
  10. Assemble the Cakes: Set up your workspace with aluminum foil, mold, bamboo leaves, and banana leaves. Layer ingredients carefully, starting with rice, then mung beans and pork.
  11. Wrap each cake securely, ensuring a tight seal.
  12. Cooking the Cakes: Boil the wrapped cakes in a large pot for about 7 hours, maintaining water level throughout. Cool in cold water after cooking.
  13. Serving Options: Enjoy banh chung soft, fried, or grilled. For soft serving, cut into wedges using twine. For frying or grilling, slice and cook until crispy.


To refresh a thawed banh chung, bring it to room temperature, rewrap in foil, and boil for 1 hour. This traditional dish is a labor of love, perfect for celebrating Lunar New Year with family and friends.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
889 Calories
34g Fat
111g Carbs
39g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 889
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34g 43%
Saturated Fat 22g 112%
Cholesterol 71mg 24%
Sodium 5337mg 232%
Total Carbohydrate 111g 40%
Dietary Fiber 16g 57%
Total Sugars 41g
Protein 39g
Vitamin C 8mg 41%
Calcium 90mg 7%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 1187mg 25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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