How can anyone resist a crispy pancake filled with pork and prawn, then wrapped in Vietnamese Lettuce along with Vietnamese mints finally dipped in Nước mắm chấm and eaten, this is Bánh Xèo or Crispy Vietnamese Pancake.
On my first visit to Vietnam about 10 years ago I had not heard of this treat and after trying for the first time I was very surprised it did not have the same stats as Pho, and almost all of my western friends and family we introduce Bánh Xèo to are also in the same boat, loving every little bite of it, The comment I most hear from westerners is how delicious it is and just how hard it was to stop eating.
The word Bánh Xèo literally gets its name (Xèo) from the sound that the pancake makes when the batter is poured into the hot fry pan or wok, Bánh is the Vietnamese word or classifier that means made from a flour mixture such as bread.
Even though Bánh Xèo originated in the south it can be found throughout Vietnam and some regions have their own variation such as in Bánh khoái (happy creaps) which originate in Hue and are a fraction of the size of the much larger Bánh Xèo that is found further south . It is also quite common (in the south) for Bánh Xèo to be made with duck instead of Pork, and my wife tells me this is the traditional way of making it.
For me I prefer Bánh Xèo with (Thịt heo) Pork and it has to be eaten as soon as possible after coming off the pan when the pancake is at its crispiness
Down in Vĩnh Long on the Mekong I have found places that sell massive 40cm wide Banh Xeo pancakes that are enough to feed a family and cost about $1 each.
Where to try Bánh Xèo?
Bánh Xèo is a very common street food that you can find being made on the streets of most towns and cities, however the restaurant my wife first introduced me to Bánh Xèo was the very well-known Bánh Xèo 46a on Đinh Công Tráng just of Hai Bà Trưng, in fact this little street has several other good Bánh Xèo places but none the match the 46A.
Bánh Xèo 46A
46A Đinh Công Tráng, Tân Định, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam