Chuc Mung Nam Moi! Happy New Year!

banh chung

The Tet holiday is not just a single day of a new year celebration but includes weeks of preparation and days thereafter reserved for visiting family and friends to wish them well in the new year.  For children this is a great time of the year because a simple new years greeting to an older relative would result in a shiny red envelope of “li xi” filled with lucky new years money.

The final dish of our Tet menu series is banh chung, a sticky rice cake traditionally filled with mung beans and slices of fatty pork belly.  The square banh chung symbolizes the earth (since the old conception of the earth was flat) and all the good things that come from it. For the complete story of banh chung and banh day see this post.  Banh chung is an indispensable item during tet to be eatened by all as well as to place in front of ancestral alters.  It’s eaten with dua mon which are daikon, green papaya, chile peppers, carrots, and leeks pickled with fish sauce.  Several varieties of banh chung exist including vegetarian version and sweet mung bean filling version.  Another variation of banh chung is banh tet which is shaped in sausage. This banh chung was made by my mom back in Michigan and brought over to us. Our favorite way to enjoy banh chung or banh tet is to pan fry it until the outside sticky rice is crispy and golden brown and the inside is still soft.

We been swamped lately with family matters and have been too busy to post, but over the last several weeks, we’ve been preparing traditional Tet foods..enjoy our virtual feast!

gio thu head cheese    cha lua
be thui roasted veal      nem chua
xoi gac      pickled bean sprouts
banh day      pickled bean sprouts

Since the week following Tet is the time to visit family and friends to wish them well, we would like to wish all of our readers:
Sống lâu trăm tuổi (long life), sức khoẻ dồi dào ( good health), vạn sự như ý (all your wishes come true)!  
Chuc Mung Nam Moi!  Happy New Year!
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30 Responses to “Chuc Mung Nam Moi! Happy New Year!”

  1. 1

    sijeleng — February 21, 2010 @ 1:40 am

    Chuc Mung Nam Moi Hong and Kim! Wonderful posts on New Year foods although I must admit I've never been able to get into banh chung.

  2. 2

    Ju (The Little Teochew) — February 21, 2010 @ 1:50 am

    Been missing you guys! That looks like a lot of good food. 🙂 Chuc Mung Nam Moi! Xin Nian Kuai Le!

  3. 3

    Joy — February 21, 2010 @ 3:08 am

    O what a wonderful festival this is at your place! What a special time is being had by all!
    Best Wishes!

  4. 4

    Tuty @ ScentofSpice — February 21, 2010 @ 5:13 am

    Happy New Year to both of you, too.
    What a good looking spread of feast.


  5. 5

    Mrs. Hot Cocoa — February 21, 2010 @ 7:18 am

    Happy New Year! I wish I'd gotten my act together to do some cooking for Chinese New Year. But it's great to dine vicarious through your photos.

  6. 6

    Anh — February 21, 2010 @ 10:19 am

    Chuc mung nam moi!! 🙂

  7. 7

    Jessica@Foodmayhem — February 21, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

    Happy New Year! Wonderful set of pictures!

  8. 8

    KennyT — February 21, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

    Happy New Year to the Ravenous Couple! Lots of good food!!!

  9. 9

    my spatula — February 21, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

    banh chung is my favorite of all favorites during tet. hong and kim, you two have truly outdone yourselves. everything looks phenomenal! chuc mung nam moi!! xo.

  10. 10

    noobcook — February 22, 2010 @ 3:12 am

    Happy New Year to both of you! 🙂

  11. 11

    Fresh Local and Best — February 22, 2010 @ 3:45 am

    Happy new year Hong and Kim! Every recipe in this compilation is wonderful!

  12. 12

    Lulu — February 22, 2010 @ 5:33 am

    Happy new year ! We were just at a friend's house yesterday and got to try the banh chung. I was surprised to find out how similar it is to the Chinese sticky rice.

  13. 13

    Table Talk — February 22, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

    Love all these recipes, so rich in tradition.
    Happy new year!
    Here's to a whole new year of fantastic cooking!

  14. 14

    Ravenous Couple — February 22, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

    Thanks and happy new years to all of you and our readers!

  15. 15

    Gastronomer — February 22, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

    Happy new year! Here's to Alexa ranking improvements! Haha. I kid…

  16. 16

    Christine — February 22, 2010 @ 10:47 pm

    Wow, your sticky rice cake is very attractive and tempting. Gorgeous picture!
    It seems that we, Chinese like to eat "sticky" food in CNY, lol…

  17. 17

    Tiny Urban Kitchen — February 23, 2010 @ 2:35 am

    Lovely lovely pictures. I totally have the same childhood memories of the red envelopes! Happy New Year!

  18. 18

    Carolyn Jung — February 23, 2010 @ 4:55 am

    What a glorious feast! Happy New Year to you and your family. Let's hope that the Year of the Tiger brings a roaring economy, too! 😉

  19. 19

    FlavorBlvd — February 23, 2010 @ 8:54 am

    Chúc mừng năm mới, Ravenous Couple!

    Do you leave your bánh chưng wrapped like that after you cut out a portion, or do you unwrap it completely to store in containers? I've always wondered which way would keep it good longer.

  20. 20

    Karen Cheung — February 23, 2010 @ 2:12 pm

    Happy New Year. Your food looks wonderful. I am Chinese (from England) and it strikes me how many similarities our food has sometimes. These are just like Chinese zongzi. read about them here:

  21. 21

    Yen@foodforfour — February 24, 2010 @ 2:36 am

    Happy New Year!
    Your mom makes banh chung – she's amazing! I also like my banh chung fried with garlic – it smells beautiful.

  22. 22

    Sophs List — February 24, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

    Oh this is making me salivate! Banh chung and mam… mmmm. Great photos too!

  23. 23

    Ravenous Couple — February 24, 2010 @ 8:49 pm

    FlavorBlvd: We tend to keep the banana leaf on..but not sure if that's any better than your method.

    karen: definitely plenty of similarities in Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines, but thankfully there are some good differences as well.

    Yen: in fact, she makes hundreds of them to sell every year…of course she get's plenty of help since it's a fund raiser…

  24. 24

    Chickie Little — February 24, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

    Mum's going to make me some of these for the freezer 😀

    Awesome blog by the way! I'm going to have to try your many recipes.

  25. 25

    phuoc — January 14, 2011 @ 2:19 am

    I try to make cha lua , when I cook the cha lua color does not came out white , look like I buy from market?? any suggestion

  26. 26

    Amy — April 16, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

    I love your blog!!!! I've tried many recipes and they come out tasting great. My last attempt with Cha Lua came out fantastic as well. It was a lot softer than I am used to. Any ideas on how I could improve the consistency? THANK YOU!!!!

  27. 27

    The Ravenous Couple — April 25, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    @amy: a few things to make it firmer: use as fresh a piece of pork as possible. keep it really cold, ie. work fast and keep the meat in fridge when not working with it. add to the steamer only when the water is boiling.

  28. 28

    Oxo Pop Container Pantry Organization — January 16, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

    […] the Lunar New Year, Tết, it’s traditional to clean and organize your house. This new year, we resolved to clean and […]

  29. 29

    PN — January 22, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

    LOVE your blog.
    I’m viet too and I had a question. I know there’s been controversy in the past over vietnamese-american shopowners selling banh chung without keeping them refrigerated. mom has had this banh chung we bought out at room temperature for FOUR DAYS NOW and she says it’s perfectly fine to fact she’s frying them up as we speak -__- is that dangerous? she says she’s never gotten sick from it after decades of eating it since she was a kid and that the tightness of the leaf wrapping helps to preserve it for awhile
    Do they have to be refrigerated and how long can they stay at room temperature?

  30. 30

    The Ravenous Couple — January 23, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    it can stay out after cooking for several days, but after that we do refrigerate it.

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