Banh Chuoi – The Nostalgic Food of Childhood

Although the ingredients to make this addicting dish sound fairly simple: ripe bananas, sugar, flour, turmeric powder, making banh chuoi requires the exceptional skills of a master artisan.

For a lot of Hanoians, banh chuoi (deep-fried banana) is the nostalgic food of childhood. Many of us would savor these crispy, slightly sweet snacks on the sidewalks as an after-school snack, or as a treat to send away the cold. 

Street food stalls selling deep-fried bananas are ubiquitous in Hanoi. You can find them pretty much anywhere, but do keep in mind that they are open only in the afternoon. It makes a lot of sense actually, since rarely anyone wants something heavy and greasy in the morning.

Banh Chuoi – The Nostalgic Food of Childhood
 A set of deep-fried bananas, along with sweet potato pancakes and corn pancakes.

Although the ingredients to make this addicting dish sound fairly simple: ripe bananas, sugar, flour, turmeric powder, making banh chuoi requires the exceptional skills of a master artisan. It’s not easy to achieve the golden ratio of the batter to produce a crunchy, delightful texture. And it’s equally tough to master the art of deep frying.

After trying various food stalls, let me introduce you to one of the hidden gems of Hanoi. Settled in Van Chuong Street, this food stall has a simple set-up. You’ll find two large pans full of scorching hot oil, a giant bowl of batter mixture, and some racks that serve to cool down the pancakes and to display them at the same time. While there are spaces for you to sit and savor the hot, fragrant pancakes right away, bánh chuối is often a take-away item. So, you won’t find a lot of people who actually stay and eat.

Banh Chuoi – The Nostalgic Food of Childhood
The owner skillfully cooks three different types of pancakes at the same time.

The key ingredient is obviously the banana. Not all kinds work, actually. The owner uses ladyfinger bananas (chuoi Su), a variety of short and small bananas that tastes much sweeter and is more fragrant than the more popular Cavendish cousin. It’s important to use ripe bananas as well, since they’re at their sweetest. The blacker and more wrinkled the peel, the better.

To make banh chuoi, the owner cuts the bananas in half and presses them gently into flat slices using a wooden handle. She then swiftly dips the banana slides one-by-one into the secret batter mixture and fries them to perfection in piping hot oil. Different from other stalls that solely rest the freshly-fried pancakes on a cooling rack, the owner, after cooling the pancakes down, adds another step and actually puts them in a mini oven so that they stay crisp and crunchy.

Banh Chuoi – The Nostalgic Food of Childhood
Different from other stores, the pancakes here are put into a mini oven to preserve the freshness and crispiness. Photos: Thuy An
 

The owner confides that she always threw away old oil that had been used several times for frying at the end of the day, and used new oil to maintain the excellent taste of the pancakes. “Everyone in my family has to eat at least two to three fried pancakes per day”, she added.

Usually, deep-frying banh chuoi in old oil gives it an off-putting brown-yellow color and a greasy taste and burnt smell. On the other hand, the fried pancakes here have a bright, appetizing golden color and a signature crunchy texture of foods that are fried in new oil. I also love how she only fries the pancakes when ordered.

Another special point about banh chuoi here lies in its crunchy outer shell. When putting the banana slices into the frying pan, the owner makes sure that each layer is thinly and evenly spread, so that the banh chuoi doesn’t become too dense and the exterior stays airy and crunchy. It is, in fact, very satisfying to bite into since you will be able to taste both the batter and the sweet, soft banana stuffing.

In addition to banh chuoi, the owner also sells sweet potato pancakes and corn pancakes. They are equally scrumptious and worth a try. The sweet potatoes are shredded finely so that when fried, they are cooked evenly and give you a crunch in every bite. Meanwhile, the corn pancakes are made of sweet, juicy corns and can bring you a harmony of flavor and texture.

Banh chuoi is a delicacy that is loved not only among children and teenagers, but also among adults. It’s quite cheap, priced at VND6,000 VND only. So, whenever you’re craving a snack, I hope I’ve given you enough reasons to give it a try. 

Hanoitimes

Best treats to enjoy in Hanoi during wintertime

Best treats to enjoy in Hanoi during wintertime

With the arrival of cold weather, this part of the year represents the perfect time to sample hot street food. Let’s visit Hanoi these days to taste these special dishes and enjoy an unforgettable experience.

Vietnamese food: Banana pancake

Vietnamese food: Banana pancake

Banh chuoi is a dish best served... in winter. In fact you will only find this sweet treat for sale when they weather is a bit chilly.

 
 

Other News

.
Southeastern tourism market remains stable
Southeastern tourism market remains stable
TRAVELicon  14/03/2021 

Tourism markets in the southeast region have remained dynamic thanks to appropriate changes to minimize losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Banh Cuon: A delicacy with a rich history
Banh Cuon: A delicacy with a rich history
TRAVELicon  13/03/2021 

Making banh cuon (steamed rice crepe) requires skills and meticulousness.

Tour discovers culture of Ruc ethnic minority group in Quang Binh
Tour discovers culture of Ruc ethnic minority group in Quang Binh
TRAVELicon  12/03/2021 

A tour of a village inhabited by the Ruc ethnic minority group has debuted in the central province of Quang Binh.

What Vietnamese Natural Reserve on the list of CNN’s fabulous tourist destinations?
What Vietnamese Natural Reserve on the list of CNN’s fabulous tourist destinations?
TRAVELicon  12/03/2021 

Cable news network CNN has recently listed Son Tra Natural Reserve among the top 10 marvelous destinations in Vietnam in 2021.

Da Nang to debut night beach zone
Da Nang to debut night beach zone
TRAVELicon  11/03/2021 

The central city of Da Nang will pilot the My An Night Beach project in the coastal living quarter of My An of Ngu Hanh Son District from April.

Tradition winning out over tourism
Tradition winning out over tourism
TRAVELicon  10/03/2021 

Hoi An local Vo Tan Tan and his craftsmen created the Taboo Bamboo Workshop in the middle of the Cam Thanh nipa palm forest as a sustainable bamboo craft and preservation centre in the ancient town in central Vietnam.

Beauty of women in Ha Giang Province’s plateau of rocks
Beauty of women in Ha Giang Province’s plateau of rocks
TRAVELicon  10/03/2021 

Ha Giang Province locating in the remote far northern region of the country is popular as Vietnam's northernmost point. 

Con Market's food offerings attract visitors to Da Nang
Con Market's food offerings attract visitors to Da Nang
TRAVELicon  10/03/2021 

Con Market is well-known in Danang for its numerous food offerings which have attracted many visitors.

Hanoi relic sites, tourist attractions reopen
Hanoi relic sites, tourist attractions reopen
TRAVELicon  09/03/2021 

Relic sites and tourist attractions in Hanoi reopened on March 8 with safety precautions put in place, after they were temporarily closed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourists do field work, Hoi An locals make a fortune
Tourists do field work, Hoi An locals make a fortune
FEATUREicon  09/03/2021 

One of the joys of tourists coming to the ancient town of Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam is to ride a buffalo and learn to farm.

Noodles with chili salt – a hot yet simple dish
Noodles with chili salt – a hot yet simple dish
TRAVELicon  10/03/2021 

In recent years, the local dish called "noodles with chili salt" has been getting a lot of love from street-food fanatics, thanks to its spicy and savoury taste.

Unique touring experiences in Gia Lai and Kon Tum
Unique touring experiences in Gia Lai and Kon Tum
TRAVELicon  09/03/2021 

Spring is the best time of the year to visit Gia Lai and Kon Tum provinces where travelers stroll in pine forests, explore local culture and enjoy the cold breeze there.

Tram Chim Park home to spectacular diversity of bird species
Tram Chim Park home to spectacular diversity of bird species
TRAVELicon  08/03/2021 

Tram Chim National Park in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap is home to hundreds of vertebrate species, dozens of fish species and more than 198 species of water birds, accounting for about a quarter of all bird species in Vietnam.

Domestic tourism stimulation: March promotions launched
Domestic tourism stimulation: March promotions launched
TRAVELicon  07/03/2021 

There are a variety of options for travelers to choose from for International Women's Day retreats.

A visit to one of the oldest pagodas in Hai Phong
A visit to one of the oldest pagodas in Hai Phong
TRAVELicon  07/03/2021 

The Hang (Cave) Pagoda, also known as Coc Tu Pagoda, leaning on a mountain and overlooking the beach in northern Hai Phong City is a spiritually and historically significant place of worship.

Discovering Pe Rang Ky cave on Tua Chua plateau
Discovering Pe Rang Ky cave on Tua Chua plateau
TRAVELicon  09/03/2021 

Located in Huoi So Commune in the rocky plateau of Tua Chua District in Dien Bien Province, Pe Rang Ky cave has a wild and mysterious beauty with a variety of beautiful stalactites.

Old green trees - a special heritage of Hanoi
Old green trees - a special heritage of Hanoi
TRAVELicon  08/03/2021 

Lines of trees shading Hanoi roads have become an impressive image of the capital city in the eyes of many tourists.

CNN selects ten Vietnamese destinations in 2021
CNN selects ten Vietnamese destinations in 2021
TRAVELicon  06/03/2021 

Cable news network CNN listed top 10 marvelous destinations in Vietnam in 2021. 

“Private” islets on Tri An Lake
“Private” islets on Tri An Lake
TRAVELicon  08/03/2021 

A Vietnamese singer left the hustle and bustle of urban life to do ecotourism and live in harmony with nature on six islets in Dong Nai Province.

Unique collection of old weapons and uniforms on show at Vung Tau museum
Unique collection of old weapons and uniforms on show at Vung Tau museum
TRAVELicon  04/03/2021 

As many as 2,500 military items and garments which originate from around the globe have gone on display at a private history museum located in Vung Tau City, with the collection being owned by 75-year-old Robert Taylor from the UK.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN