Banh Xeo – Vietnamese Crispy Pancake
La Sinfonía del Rey Hotel & Spa

Bánh xèo (pronounced BAN-sew) is a popular street food in Vietnam. Each region brings a slight variation to the same theme of stuffed thin pancake. In the South, Bánh xèo is larger and made with more veggies and mung beans. While in the Central region, they tend to be made smaller and without mung beans.
The name literally translates to “sizzling cake,” after the sound the rice batter makes when it is poured into the hot pan. But, in the States, these pancakes are also known as Happy Pancakes. Despite the name, it’s in fact a savory dish containing beef, shrimp, mushroom and so on.

Banh Xeo Recipe

The one unique ingredient in these pancakes is rice flour. Rice flour gives these pancakes a slightly chewy texture that balances out the crispness of the cooked side.

When serving Vietnamese happy pancakes, it is essential to have a dipping sauce. The sauce really ties all the flavors and textures together, adding something incredibly special to these pancakes. In Vietnamese cuisine, the most common dipping sauce is called Nuoc Cham. And, it is used quite often! Nuoc cham is a classic fish sauce-based dipping sauce that creates a beautiful balance between sour, sweet, and salty.

Amazingly fresh herbs include lettuce, mint, fish mint (Rau Diep Ca), sorrel (Rau Chua), Vietnamese balm (Kinh Gioi), Vietnamese perilla or purple mint (Tia To), and pickled daikon/carrots (Do Chua).

How to eat Banh Xeo

Though some people might prefer to use chopsticks to eat bánh xèo, the best way to enjoy it is eating with your hands. First, take a piece of bánh xèo and put it on the rice paper. Add those fresh herbs that are always served with the dish (there’re a lot to choose, but lettuce, Vietnamese perilla, basil and bean sprouts are the most common) and roll them tightly. With each bite, don’t forget to dip the roll into the sauce.

Where to get good Banh Xeo in Hanoi

If you get a chance to visit Vietnam, grab a seat on one of the tiny plastic stools at one of the street vendor stalls, order a plate of Banh Xeo and a cup of Vietnamese iced tea (Tra Da). Sit back and enjoy the meal as you watch the beautiful synchronization of mopeds and pedestrians and contemplate how people not get run over more often. There are some recommendation places for you to taste this Happy Pancake:

Banh xeo Sau Phuoc
Address: 74 Cầu Đất, Chương Dương Độ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
Opening hours: 16:00 - 20:30
Price range: 50,000 – 100,000VND/person for bánh xèo and other dishes plus drinks
Phone: 096 534 41 66
Distance: 10 mins by taxi from La Sinfonia del Rey (you should take taxi to avoid getting lost)

Banh Xeo Hang Bo
Address: 22 Hang Bo, Hoan Kiem Dist, Hanoi
Opening hours: 14:00 – 19:00
Price range: 30,000VND/person
Distance: 10 mins on foot, and 05 mins by taxi from La Sinfonia del Rey

Quán Ăn Ngon
Ngon Restaurant A very well-known chain restaurant for wonderful collections of Vietnamese street food from all over the country. Bánh xèo is greatly a highlight here.
Address: 18 Phan Boi Chau, Hoan Kiem Dist, Hanoi
Opening hours: 11:00 – 21:30
Price range: 30,000VND/person
Distance: 30 mins on foot, and 10 mins by taxi from La Sinfonia del Rey

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