Vietnamese cuisine is diverse. Let me name a few! The country has Pho (Vietnamese Soup), Banh Mi (Vietnamese Baguette Sandwich), Bun Bo Hue (Hue style beef noodles), Com Tam (Broken Rice), Xoi (Sticky Rice), Bun Dau Mam Tom (Noodles with tofu and fermented shrimp paste), v.v… That’s a lot!
Among the popular dishes, there is yellow crepes, aka Banh Xeo that is favored by the locals and visitors.
People said that food is the heart of culture. Believe me, food can “talk”. It’s the shortest way to discover the culture of any country. Thus, if you are considering to visit Vietnam, let me guide you to find the best Banh Xeo in Ho Chi Minh City, where I’m living.
No doubt that Banh Xeo is a popular, yet favorite dish in Vietnam. Vietnamese, “banh” means cake and “xeo” means sizzling. It is named by the loud sound made when people pour the flour mixture into a hot pan.
Traditionally, the locals usually cook Banh Xeo on weekends or in traditional family events. In the eyes of Vietnamese children, there’s nothing happier than sitting next to the stove and waiting for the first Banh Xeo in cold and rainy days.
Some foreign customers said that Banh Xeo looks like a “salad roll” with messy ingredients but good taste. Some others really enjoy “weird” raw vegetables. The dish is a perfect made-from-rice meal.
You can eat Banh Xeo or wrap it with a rice paper roll filled in different types of raw vegetables and have a dish with mixed fish sauce.
It is a crepe made of rice flour, commonly stuffed with thinly sliced pork, whole shrimp and bean sprouts; and can be pan-fried into circle-shape or fold into half-circle. And others love mixed fish sauce even fish sauce is a bit kind of smelly.
If you have a chance to travel throughout Vietnam, try Banh Xeo in any area you’ll stop by. To be honest, they will make you surprised. Banh Xeo has many different versions but still special and delicious then.
For your understanding, Vietnam is divided into 3 main parts: North, Central, and South. Due to geographical differences, people vary their cooking styles, spices. So do the Banh Xeo! It can have different recipes and tastes.
In the South of Vietnam, especially in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, Banh Xeo has the biggest size.
The cook fries Banh Xeo in a very big cast iron fan. Therefore, its size is as big as a large dish and yellow in color. The secret is adding a little turmeric powder into the rice flour to create a beautiful yellow color.
Moreover, besides egg, local people add coconut milk to the rice flour to make it super delicious. The main ingredients are bean sprouts, mung beans, shrimp and pork.
The fish sauce is a bit sweet and sour. Also, accompaniment is provided with a dish of mixed vegetables.
In the Central region, we cook Banh Xeo on clay molds to make a smaller size crepe.
The ingredients are a little bit different from those in the Southern part. There is no turmeric powder into the flour mixture. People just sometimes add eggs into that mixture. Therefore, Banh Xeo has white color and sometimes yellow (with egg base).
Additionally, instead of wrapping Banh Xeo with vegetables, locals in some provinces in the Central part usually use moistened rice paper. You can try to feel the taste of crispy Banh Xeo and soft moistened rice paper in just one bite.
Believe me, it’ll be an unforgettable experience for eating Banh Xeo and rice paper for the first time.
People in the North of Vietnam also prepare Banh Xeo for their family party and reunion at weekends or rainy days. But they don’t add coconut milk, then the cake lasts crispy much longer.
Served vegetables are chosen from the popular vegetables in their areas. Well, it’s hard to find any other dish that can be combined with any kind of vegetables only Banh Xeo in Vietnam.
There are many ways to discover Banh Xeo. You can book a scooter food tour and try Banh Xeo right away. If this is your favorite dish make sure you check the menu before you book.
As a local guide for Saigon Kiss Tours, below is the places that you can take a look to find the best Banh Xeo.
Banh Xeo 46A is named after its street number and is pretty popular among the locals and foreigners. The place is known for its open kitchen so guests can see the locals cook Banh Xeo on charcoal stoves.
Muoi Xiem is also a famous brand of Banh Xeo that has achieved honor awards in national and international food festivals.
A good point is that besides the traditional version, you can make your own recipe of Banh Xeo by choosing and including many kinds of mushrooms. A vegetarian option is available too. The restaurant also serves other Southern Vietnamese dishes like spring rolls, Banh Tet, Che.
This restaurant offers more than ten different types of Banh Xeo fillings with an up-scale price. There are 5 branches in Ho Chi Minh City, the two above addresses are in the city center.
People love Banh Xeo Mien Tay because of its big and beautiful yellow Banh Xeo stuffed with different ingredients and feel the smell of fresh vegetables. It’s never too expensive to explore the Mekong Delta culture but not have to move far away, just in Ho Chi Minh City.
If you have a layover at the airport, visit this place because it is nearby.
If you notice, the restaurant’s name is “Banh Khot”, not “Banh Xeo”. Banh Khot is the small version of Banh Xeo which often comes as choices for customers.
Although the place is not a hidden gem in my perspective, I personally love this place. The service is good, vegetables is clean in a well-decorated space. They also serve fresh coconut drinks and tasty desserts. Ask for Che Xuong Xa Hat Luu. It’s fresh and tasty!
Though differ from ingredients and fish sauce or served vegetables, all Banh Xeo versions are enjoyed by thousands of foreign visitors.
Saigon Kiss Tours is a #GirlPower Riders team that offers the City Tour and Food Tour in Vietnam. If you wish to eat Banh Xeo with the local experts, sign up for the funny and yummy Evening Food Tour. Come hungry!
I hope you’ll have a nice trip and find the best local dishes in Nam Nam!