Sunday, 20 March 2011

Banh Xeo, Saigon style

Banh xeo are Vietnamese savoury stuffed crisp pancake things. I've eaten them before in London based Viet restaurants but, not surprisingly, it turns out they taste much better in Vietnam.

They're made from a rice flour batter. Egg?....nope, no egg. Powdered turmeric gives them the shocking yellow colour and they tend to come with pork, prawns and beansprouts inside. The one below was also dotted with cooked mung beans, no complaints from me. They're light, crispy and delicious, at least good ones are anyway (I imagine the shit ones are heavy, soggy and 'orrible!).

Alongside you get, in true Vietnamese style, a small hedgerow of harvested greens. With mine I spotted mustard leaves, lettuce, Asian/Thai basil, mint, perilla and betel leaves.

You're also furnished with a bowl of nuoc cham, which is the ubiquitous dipping sauce over here. It's basically made from sweetened fish sauce, with some lime juice and/or vinegar, a little water and v.often has some garlic & chilli floating round in it. Very nice it is too.

The idea is that you get stuck in and sort of fill your palm with a bed of greens n herbs, tear off a chunk of your pancake, place it ontop and then roll the whole lot up as best you can. Finally you dunk this tasty parcel in the nuoc cham and down the hatch it goes.

I went to a streetside place called Banh Xeo 46a (see here) which, according to the people in the know (like the guy who writes, is supposed to be the place to go in Saigon for them. Far as I could tell they were bang on the money, but then what would I know?

Having never cooked one myself I wouldn't dream of offering up a recipe, but this looks like a good one

See pics below.

p.s this is the Saigon version but apparently there are Banh Xeo variations galore as you head North (which I am currently doing).... so will report back.

Saigon style Banh xeo (nuoc cham and mountain of herbaciousness in the background):

I gobbled it down in record time, and then ate another:

1 comment:

Robyn said...

Hi Andy -- wasn't sure if you'd check back on our comments section but yes, we'll be in Chiang Mai around Songkran. Working part of that time but certainly available for a meal ... if anything's open! You can email via upper left sidebar on EA.