Food File: Banh Beo
Bánh bèo is a dish from central Vietnam that’s still enormously popular in the former capital of Hue.
Traditionally it’s a small steamed rice cake topped with dried prawn and a sprinkle of green onion. Traditionally it’s served in the tiny ramekin it’s steamed in.
Traditionally … it’s quite good.
But at a small shop in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 3, someone has improved on the traditional version of bánh bèo, making the cakes a bit bigger and adding pork mince and tiny baby prawns to the mix of toppings. They call them bánh bèo tôm thịt (bánh bèo with prawn and pork). Darling Man says it’s the extra meat that make these morsels more fabulous than the original.
This version of bánh bèo is served with the traditional nước chấm dipping sauce. And the beauty of the dish is how all the flavours and textures work together: creamy rice pancakes, chewy savoury topping, the sweet nước mắm and the surprise crunch of tiny chunks of deep-fried pork fat.
You can try this non-traditional version of banh beo at Hai Nam, 11A Cao Thang, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.
Next month we are heading up to Hue and Hoi An to research the local food. Does anyone have any suggestions for must-try central Vietnamese dishes?
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11 years ago