A common dish with a unique twist

Pancakes are not exclusively Vietnamese. Far from it. In France, you’ll find plenty being prepared, sold and eaten on the streets of Paris, often oozing with melted chocolate or other sweet delights.

Must-try cuisines in Saigon
Hanoi’s old quarter street food
Pho vit quay comes down to Hanoi
Seasonal seafood served in urban comfort

A common dish with a unique twist
Banh xeo, or sizzling pancakes, are often cut and folded in to small pieces after fried, then served with colourful platter consisting of salad and herbs.— VNS Photo Hoang Ho

By comparison, the Dutch tend to favour more savoury toppings, like ham, cheese, spinach and bacon while in the UK, the batter-based dish even has its own special day that falls on the Tuesday before Easter when pancakes are drizzled with lemon and sugar.

Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday as it is more commonly known, was in the past used as the time to finish off butter, eggs and fats, items traditionally given up for Lent.

So unlike many of the other dishes served up in Vietnam, pancakes is not one it can claim as its own, however what the country can shout out with pride, is this: Nobody does pancakes better.
You see pancakes are simply really. Mix up some flour, eggs, milk or water and chuck the liquid into a hot frying pan until ready. Voila, easy.

But when it comes to food, Vietnam really doesn’t do plain and simple.

Bánh xèo means sizzling rice pancakes and forms a dish that is so much more than just a pancake. The texture has far more of a bite to it than its European cousins and at source, it is cooked with shrimp and beansprouts, before the real work begins.

It is cut and folded into small pieces, usually by the hands of an expert, and served with a colourful platter consisting of salad, herbs and chopped up fruits like mango and banana.

A common dish with a unique twist
A customer folds bánh xèo in rice paper wraps with lettuce. — VNS Photo Dung Nguyen & Dang Nguyen

Rice paper is found alongside and each of the above items, including of course, the bánh xèo, is neatly arranged and rolled into a cylinder.

Bánh xèo virgins take note, at this point it is probably wise, and will carry no shame, to ask for assistance otherwise more ingredients may end up on the table than in your mouth.
A dipping sauce is providing to add the final touch.

The dish is more common in the south and central regions of Vietnam, but it has travelled well and can be found at many locations in the north.

It was during a trip to the central region 10 years ago that Vuong Tat Hung enjoyed bánh xèo and decided to bring it home to Hanoi.

His restaurant on Doi Can Street soon began to gain a good reputation for serving this southern dish, and he expanded into a larger premises.

 
A common dish with a unique twist
A chef makes banh xeo in HCM City. The dish is more common in the south and central regions of Vietnam but can be found at many locations in the north. — VNS Photo Dung Nguyen & Dang Nguyen

“During one of the trips I took about 10 years ago, I had a chance to try bánh xèo and was very impressed by it,” said 40-year-old.

“It was something very Vietnamese and traditional. It tastes nice and people of all ages can enjoy it. So I started learning about it and selling it in Hanoi.”

He is far from the only one. At Ngon Restaurant on Phan Boi Chau Street, chef Tran Thi Xuyen is somewhat of an expert at the dish, which is no surprise considering she makes up to 500 portions each day.

“Bánh xèo made at other restaurants is often small in size, but the ones made at our restaurant are often larger in size,” she said.

“They are also crispy and have beautiful curves. Almost every customer that comes here, foreigner or Vietnamese, orders bánh xèo.

“The dish is very popular here. We make between four and five hundred each day.”

Pancakes are a global dish, served in a myriad of ways and brimming with idiosyncrasies depending on where, and in Britain’s case, when you are eating them.

Drowning in maple syrup at a truck stop on Route 66 just outside Albuquerque perhaps, or maybe walking along the banks of the River Seine arm in arm with the one you love, sharing a crepe on a particularly cold December evening careful not to drip strawberries and chocolate down the front of your winter coat.

But let’s face facts.

If you want a pancake like no other, served in a way you’ve never tried before anywhere else in the world, then there is only one place you should go.

And it’s not too far away. VNS

Bao Hoa & Hoang Ho

 
 

Other News

.
Vietnamese enjoy high-end tours at surprisingly low fees
Vietnamese enjoy high-end tours at surprisingly low fees
FEATUREicon  07/04/2021 

Travel firms have been advised to focus on the domestic market for the immediate time. However, they also need to draw up new strategies and new programs to conquer this group of travelers.

Vietnamese food: Raw red jellyfish
Vietnamese food: Raw red jellyfish
TRAVELicon  07/04/2021 

Raw fish is often associated with Japan but it's also a very popular street food in Vietnam.

Vietnam Int’l Travel Mart set for May
Vietnam Int’l Travel Mart set for May
TRAVELicon  06/04/2021 

The annual Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM) 2021 will take place in Hanoi from May 5 to 8 with the theme “New Normal - New Opportunities”, a press conference in the capital on April 5 heard.

Prices drop, people go on vacation before upcoming holiday
Prices drop, people go on vacation before upcoming holiday
TRAVELicon  06/04/2021 

Weeks before the Reunification Day (April 30) and International Labor Day (May 1), the number of tourists visiting the central provinces of Da Nang and Quang Nam has increased, a good sign for the tourism industry amid the pandemic.

Da Nang beach jammed with tourists on weekends
Da Nang beach jammed with tourists on weekends
TRAVELicon  05/04/2021 

The beaches in Da Nang were full of local residents and visitors over the past weekend.

House D67 where history is told
House D67 where history is told
TRAVELicon  06/04/2021 

House D67 is an interesting historical relic to visit in Thang Long Imperial Citadel.

Fruit islands in Mekong Delta to explore
Fruit islands in Mekong Delta to explore
TRAVELicon  07/04/2021 

A trip to the Mekong Delta is worth trying where tourists can emerge themselves in the nature and stay in fruit-laden orchards while enjoying the rustic countryside lifestyle.

Bat Trang pottery village
Bat Trang pottery village
TRAVELicon  07/04/2021 

Bat Trang Pottery Village is located on the banks of the Red River in Gia Lam District, about 15 km from the centre of Hanoi. 

Conquering Da Bia Mountain in Phu Yen
Conquering Da Bia Mountain in Phu Yen
TRAVELicon  05/04/2021 

Located in Dong Hoa District, Phu Yen Province, Da Bia Mountain is one of the highest mountains of the Ca Pass and it takes about two hours of climbing to reach the top.

Bustling Nga Nam Floating Market
Bustling Nga Nam Floating Market
TRAVELicon  06/04/2021 

People in Soc Trang are proud to preserve their over a hundred year old tradition of trading at Nga Nam (five-way intersection) Floating Market. 

Most stunning coastal road in Vietnam
Most stunning coastal road in Vietnam
TRAVELicon  05/04/2021 

The central province of Ninh Thuan attracts tourists with long and charming beaches. Especially, the road stretching about 80km from Ca Na beach to Binh Lap peninsula is considered one of the most stunning coastal roads in Vietnam.

Travel agencies seek changes to cope with Covid-19
Travel agencies seek changes to cope with Covid-19
TRAVELicon  04/04/2021 

Travel agencies are attempting to be more creative as more people are choosing backpacking.

“Vaccine passport” hoped to support resumption of international fights
“Vaccine passport” hoped to support resumption of international fights
TRAVELicon  04/04/2021 

In Vietnam, domestic flights have been resumed and the Prime Minister has asked relevant agencies to study the use of “vaccine passports” and gradually reopen international flights.

Northwest beauty leaves visitors in awe
Northwest beauty leaves visitors in awe
TRAVELicon  05/04/2021 

Mother Nature has given the Northwestern region of Vietnam so much, with beautiful scenery that can’t be put into words. 

VNAT to post “Travel to love - Seas beckon” video to spur tourism
VNAT to post “Travel to love - Seas beckon” video to spur tourism
TRAVELicon  04/04/2021 

Vietnam’s seas and islands will be brought to domestic and foreign visitors with Vietnam National Administration of Tourism posting the “Travel to love - Seas beckon” video on YouTube on April 6 as part of its “Discover Vietnam” programme.

Vietnam Food Travel Map project announced
Vietnam Food Travel Map project announced
TRAVELicon  03/04/2021 

The Vietnam Food Travel Map project, the first of its kind and developed by culinary artisans and experts, was unveiled during a ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on April 1.

Domestic tourism heats up as major Vietnamese holidays approaching
Domestic tourism heats up as major Vietnamese holidays approaching
TRAVELicon  03/04/2021 

Domestic tourism places high hopes on the upcoming holidays of the Reunification Day (April 30) and Labor Day (May 1) will be bustling with travel activities.

HCM City to digitise 100 tourist sites
HCM City to digitise 100 tourist sites
TRAVELicon  02/04/2021 

The HCM City Department of Tourism aims to promote the application of digital technology at 100 tourism sites in the city to enhance the experience of tourists as well as locals.

Hoi An hospitality turns trapped foreign tourists into goodwill tourism ambassadors
Hoi An hospitality turns trapped foreign tourists into goodwill tourism ambassadors
TRAVELicon  03/04/2021 

Being stuck in Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of foreign tourists have received assistance from the local government and tourism community to overcome difficulties.

Tour guides excited to get back into the field
Tour guides excited to get back into the field
TRAVELicon  02/04/2021 

With the COVID-19 pandemic now largely under control, Vietnam’s tourism scene is warming up and getting back into full gear for the upcoming national holidays at the end of April. 

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN