Mooncake in Vietnam: its features and how to make it

Despite experiencing many changes in history and society, even though the living conditions are at times extremely difficult, the mooncake Vietnam always appears in the mid-autumn festival in everywhere, from the countryside to the urban area.

The mid-Autumn period falls in the eighth lunar month, around the summer in September of the solar calendar, in the middle of three months of autumn, so it is called Mid-Autumn Festival.

At this time, the sky is clear, and the moon is very full, the most beautiful autumn moon in the year.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is also an opportunity for families to gather, open a small party to watch the moon, enjoy tea while tasting the mooncakes.

Mooncake Vietnam
Traditional Vietnamese Mooncake | © Trang Le /flickr

Traditional Mooncake Vietnam

The cake represents the moon with its radiant and round beauty. A pair of cakes, including sticky and grilled ones, represent two sides of yin and yang, in which the sticky cake represents the bright moon with a pristine shape.

Many countries in Asia share the same Mid-Autumn Festival due to the use of the same crop calendar according to the lunar calendar, and Vietnam is among them.

However, in terms of tradition, Vietnamese pastries and sticky mooncakes have their own characteristics.

If traditional Chinese cakes use glutinous rice flour filled with pure red bean paste and salted eggs or char siu, then traditional Vietnamese mooncakes are a mixture of sugar, fat, melon seeds, lime leaves, sausage or dried chicken, pumpkin jam, lotus jam, and roasted sesame. All the ingredients are mixed with Mai Que Lo wine and malt.

Traditional Mooncake Vietnam
A traditional mooncake Vietnam | @banhnhaaki

Different parts of the ingredients and the round shape of the mooncakes have meanings to pray for good weather and rich agricultural products and wish for family reunification.

The way of making traditional moon cakes is also very sophisticated. Mooncake ingredients have to be prepared long before, even a few months in advance.

Red sugar is cooked with pineapple or lemon, malt, and ash water (that comes from the ashes of the rice straw). After cooking well, this liquid is put in a jar and kept from two to three months until it has a beautiful color before making the cakes.

This sugar liquid is mixed with the cake crust powder so that when baked, the cakes have a nice brown color and are soft after baking one day.

The sticky mooncake crust is made from glutinous rice flour. After roasted and finely ground, the flour is mixed with sugar water, a little cooking oil, and grapefruit oil for fragrance.

The sugar water here is different from baking sugar, which only dissolves the sugar with hot water, not cooked, and left it for a long time.

The difference of Vietnamese traditional sticky mooncake is the light scent but the pure aroma of pomelo oil.

The people collect the grapefruit flowers in March, then steam to extract the pure oil. Grapefruit oil used in mooncakes or sweet soup is a typical flavor of the Vietnamese.

The modern kinds of Vietnamese mooncakes

Through the ups and downs of history, besides the traditional mooncake flavors, there are many new types of cakes created based on traditional recipes.

Modern Moon Cake
Modern Mooncake | @serin.cake

Green bean cake, salted egg red bean, bamboo charcoal, roasted chicken, bird’s nest filling, tiramisu filling, chocolate, green tea, taro, nuggets, coconut milk, black sesame, coffee, etc. And, the watermelon seeds in traditional mooncake Vietnam can also be replaced by Macca nuts, cashews, walnuts, or almonds.

The crust of the mooncakes has many changes as well. Depending on their taste preferences, the baker can be creative by mixing different ingredients such as bamboo charcoal, cocoa powder, green tea powder, purple sweet potato powder.

The cake surface is not only embossed according to the existing traditional style, but there are cakes decorated with Vietnamese flowers and different colors, like a painting.

vietnamese mooncake
Colorful decoration on Vietnamese mooncakes | @bepcuatom_

These mooncakes are also very elaborate. The bakers make the flowers separately and use different colors, mostly from vegetables or food coloring for the floral details.

Some people also make multi-layer crusts with the eye-catching colors interwoven, creating various colorful mooncakes for the exciting festival.

For the sticky mooncakes, besides traditional cakes, there are now a variety of fillings like grilled cakes. Also, different kinds of mooncakes from Singapore, Taiwan are introduced in Vietnam, making the sticky mooncakes more abundant.

Nowadays, most families in the map of Vietnam can make mooncakes using already-prepared ingredients sold in the bakery stores, including crust powder and fillings.

Mooncakes being sweet gifts

moon cake vietnam
Mooncakes also become beautiful gifts. | @conmeocuoii.bakery

The development of society has brought about new conceptions of nutrition. And today, the economic conditions of Vietnamese families are all improved, so the moon cakes are no longer an eager gift waiting for everyone.

Mooncakes became an expensive gift to give or to make a relationship. Besides, many people do not want to eat moon cakes because of the sweetness and fatness higher than normal nutritional standards.

However, for some children, the mooncakes still have their own charm. The small joy for children is the feeling of excitement when receiving the beautiful mooncakes shaped like fish, piglets, or moon shapes. That is the childhood experience for many people as well.

Even though society undergoes many changes, the mooncakes in Vietnam are still forever an indispensable part of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

>>> You may want to see Vietnamese cooking and eating habits.

Mung bean mooncake recipe

As mentioned above, Vietnamese mooncakes come in many varieties. We like to introduce to you the recipe for making mung bean mooncakes, which has the simplest way to make it.

mung bean mooncake
Mung bean mooncakes | © Vietnamdrive

So with just a few steps, easy to find ingredients, you can make beautiful mooncakes at home.


Cake filling:

200 grams of mung beans without skin,
150 grams of sugar,
50 grams of cooking oil,
50 grams of malt,
30 grams of mooncake flour,
Grapefruit or vanilla perfume.

Cake crust part:

700 grams of sugar liquid for sticky cake,
1 teaspoon cooking oil,
1/2 teaspoon grapefruit oil,
350 grams of mooncake flour,
150 grams of mooncake mold.

The steps to make mooncakes with mung bean filling

Make the cake filling:

mooncake filling
Mung bean mooncake filling

Wash mung beans carefully, and soak them in water for 2 hours to make them soft.

Then put the beans in a pot and cover with water, cook until soft. While cooking the beans, be careful not to cover the lid to avoid spilling.

Put the cooked beans in a blender, and puree the mixture.

Pour the beans into the non-stick pan, and add sugar, stir on the low heat and continuously do that for a few minutes, then add oil and mix them together.

When you see the beans start to thicken, take 30 grams of sticky rice flour, dissolve it with a little water and put it in a pan of beans, stir until the bean paste into a block.

At that time, you add the malt and mix well. Then, add a little grapefruit oil or vanilla, continue mixing them on medium heat.

Then, all ingredients mix together, take the pan out of the fire. Keep the mixed filling cool down.

Divide the mixture into 50 g balls (which are used for 150 g mooncake molds), cover them with plastic, and store them in a cool compartment of the fridge.

Making the mooncake crust:

Fill a clean bowl with sugar water, add grapefruit perfume, and a little cooking oil, then stir well.

Put the dough and mix well until you see the dough thicken.

Put it on a clean table, use the force of your palm to pull the dough and squeeze it until it is smooth, not sticky.

Divide the powder into 100 g, and press it flat.

Place the mung bean ball in the middle and gently wrap the cake so that the filling does not leak out.

Make mooncake
Place the mooncake filling in the dough.

Take a little dry powder and sprinkle it over the cake and mooncake mold to prevent stickiness.

Place the dough (that already added filling) in the mold and squeeze it well, keep it for 30 seconds.

The mooncake after making can be put in a plastic bag sealed or store it in a sealed box for storage.

The sticky mooncake should be enjoyed on the second day when the crust becomes clearer.

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The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.