Banh xeo, Vietnamese-style savory crepe, is a popular traditional Vietnamese dish, especially in the South-western region of Vietnam with one famous Banh xeo brand from Can Tho Province – Banh xeo Muoi Xiem.
What is Banh xeo?
Banh xeo, literally meaning “sizzling cake”, named for the sizzling sound made when rice batter is poured into a frying pan. Its batter has yellow color of turmeric as well as green color of spring onions. A crepe has variety of size, ranging from 15cm to 25cm, depending on bakers’ preference.
A typical Banh xeo is stuffed with pork, prawns, bean sprouts and garnished fresh herbs. In the South-western Vietnam, you may find minced duck meat, or minced pork with cassava or apical buds of adult coconut plants inside its yellow crispy batter.
How is Banh xeo made?
To make its batter, besides rice flour and water, people in South-western region usually add coconut milk, 1 or 2 eggs and a little white wine to make Banh xeo more crispy.
Banh xeo definitely loses its flavor in the absence of fresh herbs and dipping sauce.
The South-western region of Vietnam provides suitable condition for many kinds of plants to grow, partly because it is a fertile alluvial plain with interlacing network of channels, and partly because it has dry and wet seasons. The herbs served with Banh xeo include lettuce leaves, coriander, mint, Thai basil leaves, piper lolot, etc.
As for dipping sauce, it fundamentally contains fish sauce, water, fresh lime juice, garlic clove, long fresh red chili and sugar. The best dipping sauce is a perfect combination of salty, sweet, and sour. Someone says that a sauce maker is also a great artist who is able to estimate the exact amount of the ingredients for the perfect mixture.
How to eat Banh xeo properly?
First, take a lettuce leaf (or a piece of rice paper), put other herbs on the leaf, and then roll them with a portion of Banh xeo. After that, dunk it into the dipping sauce and enjoy its superb flavor when the tastes of crispy batter, prawns, meat, fresh herbs, along with sweet and sour sauce are combined.
The meaning of making Banh xeo is beyond enjoying a delicious dish, but to strengthen family bonds. Because it is an opportunity for family members to gather, cook and share meals together. Banh xeo is delicious not only because of perfect combination of the ingredients, but also because of love among family members. That may be the reason why in Doan Ngo festival, held on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month for farmers to get prepared for a new crop, Banh xeo is an irreplaceable part in meals of Vietnamese families.
The pancake has been proud to reach the world with more and more people falling in love with it. In June of 2007, Muoi Xiem was selected to perform making Banh xeo and introduce Banh xeo to international friends in the Smithsonian Festival in the USA.
Some recommended Banh xeo restaurants in Ho Chi Minh city :
– Banh xeo Muoi Xiem
+ 119 Nam Ki Khoi Nghia street, Ward 6, District 3, HCMC
+ 225-227, Nguyen Trai street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1, HCMC
– Banh xeo 46A
+6A Đinh Cong Trang, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, HCMC
– Ba Hai restaurant
+64, Nguyen Trong Tuyen street, Phu Nhuan District, HCMC
– Mien Tay restaurant
+ 31/6 Hoang Hoa Tham street, Ward 13, Tan Binh District, HCMC.
Writer: Nhu Anh