return icon

Da Lat's Banh can: creamy goodness

When searching for top dishes to try in Da Lat in the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng, the phrase Banh can (custard cake) comes up a lot.

The dish is prepared by pouring the batter, which contains soaked rice and water, into small clay pots on top of a special stove. A small amount of egg is then poured into each of the pots, which are then closed so that the mixture can be grilled. 




After the cakes are done, makers of Da Lat Banh can typically flip them over and place them on top of one another, like a miniature burger.   

The dish is then served with cha (Vietnamese sausage) and a bowl of dipping sauce typically made with fish sauce, chopped onions and other seasonings, garnished with Vietnamese shumai meatballs. Restaurants in Da Lat often sell soy milk to be enjoyed with the dish.

I can see why Banh can is a must-try: the soft, creamy texture of the egg-filled cake and the crunchy outer crust pair well with the flavourful, rich dipping sauce and meatballs.

With reasonable prices of around VND30,000 (US$1.30), Banh can restaurants and vendors can be seen everywhere in Da Lat, often filled with locals and tourists.

Nguyen Yen Thy, owner of the 20-year-old Banh can Thy restaurant, said that her business can see up to 300 customers on peak days.

This restaurant once belonged to her mother, who began selling the dish at home as a hobby when she retired.

Wide variety

While famous in Da Lat, the dish did not come from the city and is said to have originated from the Cham community in Ninh Thuan Province. It is served in various southern central provinces in Vietnam, with each preparing the dish in subtle but different ways.

"In Da Lat, the dish is made from rice and eggs and served with fish sauce, shumai and sausage, not with shrimp or squid like places on the coast. The dish has a rich smell of eggs and rice, a lot more than in other regions," she said as she made another batch for expected customers.

Sharing my sentiment, Phạm Minh Thái, a customer from HCM City, praised the cake's creamy texture and the rich dipping sauce.

Different regions have different methods of preparing the dipping sauce, according to Nguyễn Trung Định, a HCM City customer who was eating at Tăng Bạt Hổ Banh can restaurant, another crowded business in Da Lat.

"I think the dish is best enjoyed hot during Da Lat's cool weather," he added.

In fact, Banh can businesses in Da Lat prepare their sauce in various ways. One place may mix in a lot more chili and extra fish sauce to make the sauce even richer, whereas another will add a few small slices of sour mango to the broth, giving it a hint of fruity sourness. 

"The dish is very simple, just rice flour mixed with egg, so in order to have a delicious dish, it's important to put your heart into making it. The rice flour and the eggs must be clean, and you must choose the best ingredients for the dipping sauce and shumai meatballs," Thy said as she took a short break before returning to serve her crowded restaurant.

Indeed, Banh can is a filling meal at a reasonable price, especially during the winter chill, and is one of Da Lat's not-to-be-missed dishes.



Party chief directs key tasks for new year

Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee, mapping out key tasks for the new year.


Domestic market to drive tourism recovery in 2023: insider

Some big companies made profits in 2022, but others incurred losses

While Duc Giang Chemicals and Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical have reported big profits for Q4 and the year 2022, Vietnam Airlines and leading steel manufacturer Hoa Phat saw big losses for the year.

Vietnamese couple help German bicyclist in distress

Trung and Nhung, a Vietnamese couple, on the way to travel across Vietnam on Tet holiday, saw a foreigner who was facing troubles because of strong winds in Ninh Thuan.

Vietnam develops green agriculture to increase exports to EU

Vietnam is paying attention to mobilising resources to invest in developing green agriculture with an aim to raising the market share of its agricultural exports to the European Union.

Vietnamese team comes first at Southeast Asian Fencing Championship

Vietnam secured the first position at the 2023 Southeast Asian Fencing Championship which has taken place recently in Malaysia.

2023 - Time for Edtech to thrive in Vietnam

Experts are positive about the development of Vietnam’s education technology (Edtech) market in 2023 if local Edtech companies can overcome post-pandemic challenges.

UK imports from Vietnam in 2022 put at over US$6 billion

United Kingdom (UK) imports from Vietnam amounted to US$6.06 billion last year, rising by 5.2% over 2021, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Five more registration officials in Hanoi prosecuted for soliciting bribes

Police of Hanoi’s Thuong Tin District has started legal proceedings against five officials at 2915D Registration Centre for taking bribes.

Thai Thi Lien, Vietnam's matriarch pianist and pedagogue, passes away

Thai Thi Lien, one of the founders of Vietnam's National Academy of Music, passed away on Tuesday peacefully at her home at the age of 106, her son Tran Thanh Binh said.

VN striker Tien Linh vies for Asia’s Best Footballer Award 2022

Vietnamese striker Nguyen Tien Linh has been listed among the 25 nominees for the Best Footballer in Asia 2022 award organized by Titan Sports of China.

Visa policy change needed to further attract foreign visitors: tourism authority

A key for Vietnam to attract more foreign tourists at this time is to change its visa policy, said Chris Farewell, a member of the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB).

Da Nang promotes food into unique tourism product

Not only famous for its beautiful natural landscapes, bridges and diverse cultural heritage as well as hospitality of the locals, the central coastal city of Da Nang boasts rich food known to world tourists for its unique taste.

Vietnamese films earn big profits during Tet

Nha Ba Nu (The House of No Man) has been the highest-grossing Vietnamese film during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

PM to hold dialogue with young people in March

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will hold a dialogue with young people in Hanoi on March 26, the Government Office has announced.