Mooncakes in Vietnam

In Vietnam, mooncakes are called “Bánh Trung Thu”, which can be translated to “Mid-Autumn cake”. Traditionally in Vietnamese culture, mooncakes have been seen as a symbol of family reunions in this festive event. Through time, many varieties of the original mooncakes have been created, which are more sophisticated and well embraced.

Mooncakes and festival celebrations

Despite the different theories on the festival and mooncakes, it is celebrated annually in Vietnam and other Asian countries, and its significance remains intact over several hundred years. This autumn fest is considered a special event for family reunions, and the original round shape of the mooncakes is also indicative of that meaning. During the festivities, family members usually gather and make offerings to their ancestors then delightedly enjoy mooncakes with fragrant tea while admiring the full moon. Over the course of time, mooncakes now gifted to people’s relatives, friends, and colleagues as a token of love, warmth, and gratitude has seen great changes and additions.

Traditional mooncakes

There are two main types of mooncake: “Bánh nướng” (baked mooncake) and “Bánh dẻo” (sticky rice mooncake) in Vietnam. Vietnamese mooncakes are often in the shape of a circle or square and its flavor is rather sweetened in comparison to other variants. Baked mooncake is baked from wheat flour, oil, and syrup boiled with malt. After being filled with various combinations of salted egg yolk, dried sausage, seeds and mung bean paste, it would be brushed with egg wash, then baked in the oven. Sticky rice mooncake is rather easier to make. The crust of it is made from roasted glutinous rice flour with pomelo blossom water or syrup and vanilla. After softening the rice flour, the fillings are stuffed inside the crust and then the cake is put into a beautifully crafted mold. Then the sticky rice mooncake can be eaten immediately.

“Bánh nướng” with shiny golden baked crust
“Bánh dẻo” with sticky rice crust
“Bánh dẻo” with sticky rice crust

Mooncakes in contemporary forms

In Vietnam, many variations of the original mooncakes have been produced apart from traditional baked mooncake and sticky rice mooncake. Today, they usually makes mooncakes with fillings such as taro, green beans, red beans, or coconut, with a salted yolk in the middle, and it is perfect with a cup of tea under the moonlight. Mooncake brands is also trying to create special kinds of filling from luxury ingredients like shark fins to fruit, chocolate, matcha, jelly, or ice cream. Some bakeries have also introduced moon cupcakes, bringing a brand new breeze to the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival’s customs. Some also make mooncakes in shaped of adorable animals for the kids, these cakes don’t usually have fillings. There are also vegetarian and diet mooncakes for diabetic or vegetarian consumers’ taste buds while keeping them healthy.

Baked mooncake in shape of cute animals
Baked mooncake in shape of cute animals

Visitors to Vietnam during Mid-Autumn Festival can buy mooncakes in street stalls, in the grocery stores or supermarkets. You can also ask local people for the best-selling places to enjoy the traditional taste. Some famous mooncakes brands in Vietnam are Kinh Do, Thu Huong, Bao Phuong, or Brodard.

Author: Gigi