Grilled Vietnamese rice 'pizza' the talk of the town

By Diep Tu   October 17, 2020 | 08:00 pm PT
A combination of savory beef jerky, aromatic scallions, fatty pate, and creamy quail egg yolk, this Da Nang dish, grilled rice paper, bears the heart of local youth.

One simply cannot talk about Da Nang treats without mentioning its renowned rice paper sandwich (banh trang kep) and grilled rice paper (banh trang nuong).

Grilled rice paper, also called Vietnamese pizza, is a popular dish throughout central and southern Vietnam, including in Da Nang City, nearby Quang Ngai Province, Da Lat Town, and Saigon.

In particular, the dish is jazzed up and prepared in different styles in Da Nang, making it all the more appealing. Among these many styles, grilled rice "pizzas" with a runny fried egg is a favorite for many.

Grilled rice ‘pizza’ topped with a sunny-side up egg. Photo courtesy of nothingtoeat.

Grilled rice ‘pizza’ topped with a sunny-side up egg. Photo courtesy of nothingtoeat.

To enjoy this intriguing combination, swing by an eatery named Co Ty on Le Ngo Cat Street in Da Nang's Thanh Khe District. Not many tourists know of this location but it is a go-to spot for young locals.

The menu features nine dishes, of which seven are grilled rice "pizzas" with different toppings. Other dishes are cowfish and grilled squid.

The eatery, at the intersection of Le Ngo Cat and Dao Duy Tu streets, is an affordable local joint tucked deep inside an alley. Low stools and tables are scattered about, great for small afternoon gatherings with friends. The eatery is small and cozy even though there are many seats. It is open daily from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and always teeming with customers.

Toppings mainly revolve around familiar ingredients such as pate, quail egg, beef jerky, chili sauce, and scallions. Despite these ordinary ingredients, the "pizzas" are prepared in different ways that render them interesting and unique.

The chosen toppings are laid onto triangular cuts grilled the traditional Da Lat way. The crispy texture makes it an absolute treat.

Typically, the snack is dipped into sweet and sour sauce or shrimp paste. The sweet and sour sauce tastes similar to tamarind sauce and does not have a strong smell. However, shrimp paste is the popular choice. A serving costs VND6,000VND ($0.3).

Spread of ingredients for rice paper crepes and pizzas. Photo courtesy of nothingtoeat.

Spread of ingredients for rice paper crepes and "pizzas". Photo courtesy of nothingtoeat.

The rice paper treat, being thin and crunchy, has generated a lot of hype amongst local youth. The dish tastes best when still hot. You can also order in advance if planning a dinner with friends or a large group.

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