One thing to try: The Banh Tet from Lam’s

When Lam’s Vietnamese Restaurant posted to their Facebook page they were making their traditional new year cake, Banh Tet, I was excited.

I’d never had the savory, slightly sweet cake before, and knew I was going to give it a try this week. And lucky for me, I didn’t even have to leave work! Co-worker and fellow lover of food Rosemary McCoy brought a whole cake to the newsroom conference room.

Now, I don’t know how well known outside the journalism world this truism is, but I’ll let you in on a “secret:” Journalists will eat an.y.thing. And FAST. So when I realized I’d missed Rosemary’s email announcing the cakes arrival by a full 30 minutes, I shot up and blurted out a question I knew was going to end in modest devastation (a bit hyperbolic, but hey, I love food!). But the less adventurous in the room had apparently steered clear, and there was plenty left for me to sample!


Lam’s bills their Banh Tet as a cake made with fillings encased in a thick layer of sweet rice and black beans, wrapped with banana leaves, and steamed for several hours. They offer two versions of the fillings: mung bean (vegetarian), and bacon encased in mung bean. Rosemary brought us the latter.

And I liked it! I don’t think I’d want to have more than one slice as it was quite dense, but it had a very nice, subtle beans and pork taste that I enjoyed. The syntax of that is important: beans and pork, not pork and beans. It was also slightly sweet. Maybe the cooking in the banana leaves?

Either way, even those in the office that didn’t necessarily like it were glad they tried it.

So give it a shot.