Five siblings of ‘banh xeo’ and where to find them

By VnExpress   March 26, 2017 | 09:00 am PT
Here are some alternatives to the crispy pancakes that just taste amazing with fish sauce and fresh herbs.

Banh khot

Banh khot is the closest relative to banh xeo and many restaurants in southern Vietnam serve them as a pair. Unlike banh xeo which is fried on a large pan, banh khot is cooked in small round molds, with other ingredients like pork, mung beans, shallots and coconut milk added on top. The rim should be slightly burnt to add flavor to the tasty treat. Like banh xeo, the cake is eaten by being rolled in fresh leaves and dunked in fish sauce.

The southern dish has at least two versions. The Mekong Delta’s banh khot is softer, thicker and usually more yellow due to the addition of turmeric power. Vung Tau’s banh khot is flatter and crunchier and is white, with shrimps and shrimp powder on top.

Banh can

Banh can is exactly the Mekong Delta’s bank khot without turmeric and coconut milk. The little rice pancake originally came from the Cham people in Ninh Thuan Province but has gradually become a specialty of south central Vietnam. The best banh can be found either in Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan or Phu Yen, and it is also recommended in the Central Highland resort town of Da Lat.

Banh can in Ninh Thuan and its neighbors are served with a bowl of sauce made from braising fish, pickles and onions. Da Lat serves it with fish sauce, fried shallots and ground meat balls.

The making of banh can in Ninh Thuan selected for this article was captured by Le Bich.

Banh khoai

From the shape, the golden half-folded banh khoai is a tinier, thicker and crunchier banh xeo. When you search for banh xeo in Vietnamese Wikipedia, there will be a section about banh khoai as well.

The dish is a specialty in central Vietnam, and you can find a great one in Hue. It is a family restaurant that has been serving for more than 40 years on Dinh Tien Hoang Street near Thuong Tu Gate to the southeast of the Imperial City.

Banh khoai is best served with soybean and peanut sauce, which also has sesame, pork and the juice from fermented shrimp paste.

Banh tom

The dish first appeared in Hanoi in the 1970s and has since become a foody icon of the capital. Anytime people say banh tom, almost everyone will think of West Lake, the popular venue for the deep-fried rice powder cake with shrimp (tom). The authentic West Lake cakes also have pieces of sweet potato to stay crispy.

Banh trang nuong

Like banh tom, Da Lat’s version of banh xeo is actually a distant relative of banh xeo. Banh trang nuong is rice paper grilled until crispy with toppings such as egg, cheese, dried beef, mayonnaise and shallots. The snack is said to have been invented in Da Lat before gaining nationwide popularity in recent years, and has become a favorite street food in Ho Chi Minh City. The best banh trang nuong is said to come from this little yet always crowded diner at 180 Bui Thi Xuan Street.

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