Food - Drink
Bánh Xèo: The Delectable Vietnamese Crepes You Should Know
By CLARICE KNELLY
Vietnamese street food is known for its simple, yet fresh, delectable ingredients like bánh xèo, a thin, crispy crêpe filled with juicy meat and crunchy veggies, and served with a variety of dipping sauces. This nationwide favorite is a street-food staple but looks different based on where you're visiting in Vietnam.
Many regions dress it up differently; in Ho Chi Minh City, bánh xèo consists of a turmeric-seasoned crêpe stuffed with tiny shrimp, fluffy rice, and rich pork belly, and wrapped with large lettuce and herbs for added texture and flavor. A mixture of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and chiles is also a common dipping sauce.
Many central provinces, like Quang Ngai or Quang Nam, often wrap the dish in rice paper rather than a lettuce leaf, while southern provinces, like Can Tho and Saigon, are very similar to the Ho Chi Minh City version. At fancier establishments, they "Include star fruit and banana [...] while southern chefs might toss mushrooms, coconut or even lotus into their pancakes," writes the Saigoneer.
When cooking the crêpe for the bánh xèo, the batter would hit a hot skillet and sizzle audibly, which is then cooked until the bottom is quite crispy, but the top will still be tender and custardy. At that point, your fillings will be added and then folded in half, but these steps will differ a bit depending on which version of bánh xèo you want to try the most.