Banh xeo is a famous Vietnamese dish. While it is not so popular in Hanoi, it is really popular down in the South, in Saigon. Compared to Hanoi’s, Saigon’s banh xeo seems to be more delicous and popular, but both are must-try-dishes whether you are Hanoian visiting Saigon or a foreigner.
What is “Banh xeo”?
Banh xeo literally means “sizzling cake” in Vietnamese. “Banh” means cake and “xeo” is an onomatopoeic word alluding to the sizzling sound the batter makes when it hits a hot frying pan. You pronounce it like bun sey-oh. Banh xeo is a crispy crepe stuffed with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts, and ultimately, garnished fresh herbs.
Due to the geographical differences in cooking styles and spices in Vietnam, banh xeo can have many different regional interpretations. Southern, northern or central style banh xeo all have different variations to meet local tastes. After your first bite, the taste and memory linger strongly afterward so much so that it becomes a reason for foreigners to extend their vacation in Vietnam.
Traditionally, Vietnamese people usually gather to make banh xeo on weekends or during family gatherings. Adults prepare the batter while children help to wash the herbs and set the table. Banh xeo is designed to share with your loved ones over lots of laughter. And trust me: warm and hearty homemade version of this delicious Vietnamese pancake is the perfect cure for cold and chilly days.
Where to find “Banh xeo” in Saigon
Here are the five most famous addresses to stop by for a yummy plate of banh xeo:
1. Banh Xeo Muoi Xiem, 204 Nguyen Trai S.t, D.1 or 213 Bis Nam Ky Khoi Nghia S.t, D.3
When it comes to banh xeo, the first brand that immediately pops up in everyone’s mind is Muoi Xiem. Banh Xeo Muoi Xiem has achieved many major awards while attending food festivals all over Vietnam and other countries in the region. The best thing about this place is that apart from the traditional banh xeo with shrimp and pork, the restaurant also creates unique types of this Vietnamese pancake with mushroom filling (needle mushroom, abalone mushroom, lingzhi mushroom, etc…). This is highly recommended for vegans!
2. An La Ghien, 74 Suong Nguyet Anh S.t, D.1 or 100 Cao Thang S.t, D.3
Banh xeo An La Ghien is actually a big chain specializing in banh xeo and is a location everyone hits when they have intense cravings. The restaurant is centered around a concept of Vietnamese/Western-style cuisine. It offers not only banh xeo with more than ten different types of fillings but also dozens of Vietnamese-Western rustic dishes at affordable prices. There are many vegetarian options with mushroom and all of them are really tasty and beneficial to your health.
3. Banh Xeo 46A, 46A Dinh Cong Trang S.t, D.1
Banh Xeo 46A has had one of the longest careers among the banh xeo restaurants in Saigon. It is Saigon’s best-known eatery for getting a banh xeo, especially among foreign visitors looking to enjoy the iconic Vietnamese street food. FYI: this banh xeo hotspot is always swarming with people so be patient ‘cause you may have to wait in an endless queue.
4. Banh Xeo Mien Tay, 31/6 Hoang Hoa Tham S.t, Tan Binh D.
Of all the banh xeo restaurants that have emerged in the city, Banh Xeo Mien Tay should be your top priority as this place brings you the one-of-a-kind flavor found only in the westernmost region of Vietnam. There’s a saying that Vietnamese eat with all their senses and it is especially true when you are to sit down at a banh xeo street stall like Banh Xeo Mien Tay. The gorgeous yellow color of the crepe is a feast for the eyes; you can hear that angry hissing sound when the batter hits the pan, and you can smell the mouthwatering pork grilling in the hot oil.
Hope you have a good time trying this dish and in Saigon in general.
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