Banh Xeo - one the most “hunted” street food in Vietnam
Banh Xeo (or Vietnamese crepe) is one the most delicious Vietnamese street food - Photo: Internet
This food was named “Banh Xeo” because of the sizzling sound “xeo xeo” when the cook pours the batter (made from rice flour and other ingredients) into a hot frying pan with little oil (or lard).
The crepe is round-shaped, yellow, and rather crusty when eating. It also has a lot of appetite attraction due to its sweet and fatty scent from coconut milk and shrimp and pork. And as any other Vietnamese food, to enjoy Banh Xeo to its utmost deliciousness you should be use each crepe with dipping sauce (made from fish sauce and other spices), and some fresh vegetables.
How to cook Banh Xeo?
Banh Xeo is a popular food in Vietnam, and very easily found anywhere across the country from street foodshops to luxurious restaurants.
Other than that, it’s also farmiliar to people throughout all three main regions in Vietnam. While there will be some local variations in the preparing steps, the cooking is not varied a lot.
To make the batter of Banh Xeo, we have rice flour mixed with turmeric powder to make the crepe beautifully yellow after the cooking. Possibly some coconut milk and small slices of scallion are added to make the scent more engaging.
The stuffing of Banh Xeo is varied in different places. It could consist of thin slices of seasoned pork, or beef, shrimp, squid, bean srpouts, mushrooms, stewed grean beans, etc.
At first sight, the cooking of Banh Xeo seems rather simple, but in reality it is such a challenge, with delicacy and skills required in every step. Firstly, you pour just enough cooking oil (or lard) into a frying pan and swirl the pan for the oil to coat both its bottom and its side. The same thing is made with the batter to make a thin and crusty coat of the crepe. Then pork, bean sprouts and mushrooms are added. Wait until the batter turns yellow, use a spatula to fold the crepe in half to cover the stuffing inside; finally, take Banh Xeo out of the pan.
People often use a pan to cook Banh Xeo - Photo: Internet
The size of Banh Xeo is also different is various places of Vietnam. Banh Xeo in the North is round and about the size of a plate; Banh Xeo in the Central is just about the size of a mature person’s hand; while in the Western of Vietnam its size is the biggest for it’s cooked in large frying pans.
Banh Xeo in the North of Vietnam is about a plate’s size - Photo: Internet
Banh Xeo in the Middle of Vietnam is as big as a mature person’s hand - Photo: Internet
Banh Xeo in the South of Vietnam has the big size, for it is cooked in a very large frying pan - Photo: Internet
How to savor Banh Xeo?
Banh Xeo tastes the best when it’s just recently taken out of the pan, with its steamy hotness and crusty coat.
Its dipping sauce tastes quite sour, sweet, salty and pungent, and it's usually added with some slices of papaya.
To savor this food, there are various ways. For example:
- Wrap Banh Xeo in a large leaf of lettuce or mustard green, then dip in the sauce.
Wrap Banh Xeo in a large leaf of lettuce or mustard green, then dip in the sauce - Photo: Internet
- Use dry rice paper, wet a sheet just enough, then spread it on a plate. Cut Banh Xeo into medium-sized pieces, put one piece together with fresh vegetables in the middle of the rice paper. Finally wrap the paper up, dip with fish sauce and savor the flavor of the serving.
Using rice paper to warp Bánh Xèo - Photo: Internet
- Use chopsticks to pick the whole of a Banh Xeo into a small bowl, add some sauce onto the crepe - this seems to be the simplest way to use Banh Xeo.
Famous brands of Banh Xeo in Vietnam
No admirer of this food in Vietnam could bypass the name of Muoi Xiem. She is a long-time famous Banh Xeo baker in Can Tho city – the largest city in the southwest of the Southern part in Vietnam. Ms Muoi Xiem was honored an artist in Banh Xeo cooking. She’s spent more than 60 years making this food.
In 2007, she performed her Banh Xeo cooking art at the 41th Smithsonian Folklife festival held in the USA. Now at her old age, Ms. Muoi Xiem has already retired and handed her jobs to younger generations.
However, if you want to savor the original flavor of Ms. Muoi Xiem’s Banh Xeo, a trip to Can Tho city is required. You can visit Muoi Xiem Banh Xeo shop on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street (Tra Noc Ward, Binh Thuy District, Can Tho city).
In Ho Chi Minh City, the brandname of Muoi Xiem has been long made its appearance at:
- Banh Xeo Muoi Xiem, 190 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.
- Banh Xeo Muoi Xiem, 225 - 227 Nguyen Trai, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Another brandname of Banh Xeo in Ho Chi Minh City that can also satisfy anyone’s appetite is Banh Xeo An La Ghien. You can visit any of their restaurents at:
- 54A Nguyen Van Troi Street, Ward 15, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City.
- 74 Suong Nguyet Anh Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
- 100A Cao Thang, Ward 4, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.
- 778 - 780 Dien Bien Phu Street, Ward 10, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City.
Having the interest of self-exploring the well-known Vietnamese street food, you can visit any street shops to discover the fascinating flavor of Banh Xeo.
The prices of Banh Xeo are fluctuated from 10.000 VND - 100.000 VND/crepe (about 0.45 - 4.58 USD/crepe)
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