Bánh ít is one of specialties of the central in Vietnam, commonly used in regional death anniversaries and marriage rituals as well, but now it has become a snack that you can enjoy anytime. There are two versions of bánh ít: the sweet one is called “bánh ít lá gai” and the salty one is known as “bánh ít tôm thịt”, both of which are unique and appetizing. The sweet cake is simply a mung bean paste ball covered by dough made from the mixture of grounded “gai” leaves, sugar and sticky rice flour. Sweetened ground coconut sometimes is used instead of mung bean.
After folding banana leaves into a cone shape, the ball into it and then fold in four sides, creating a pyramid shaped cake. Steaming is the last step to bring out the cake a glossy deep black color stemming from “gai” leaves, a sweet taste of sugar, mung bean and glutinous rice, and a delicate aroma of banana leaves and “gai” leaves. For the salty cake, minced pork meat, prawn, mashed mung bean onion and seasonings are stirred fried until well-done and thick to make the filling and the dough is only made of rice flour. The cake could be either traditionally wrapped into banana leaves or not. Indeed, both versions of little cake are so mouthwatering and small so you could hardly imagine how fast you relish the whole cake, but enjoying them gradually is much better, of course.
“bánh ít lá gai” : the specialty of Bình Định province
“bánh ít tôm thịt”: a representative of Hue cuisine.