Vietnam is known for its crispy, filled rice pancakes known as Banh xèo which is a local Vietnamese term for a sizzling pancake. The name alludes to the sound the sizzling rice batter makes when it is thrown onto the hot skillet which is from the Chinese word xèo. Using rice flour, water, and turmeric powder, it makes a savory fried pancake. Vietnamese crêpe is another name for it and is served in various ways which include some filling of pork, prawns, sliced green onion, mung beans, and bean sprouts can be a few typical stuffing ingredients. It goes along with lettuce, mint, Asian basil, and fish mint, which creates a flavorful Bahn Xeo serving.
The Origin of Bahn Xeo
Central Vietnam is where Banh Xeo’s most well-known variation is from. The dish is said to have come from France when that country was occupying Vietnam. While most meals, like Banh Xeo, come from central Vietnam, they have been altered and transformed into many regional varieties. You may be sure that Saigon’s street vendors will be selling this mouthwatering delicacy if you ever have the chance to travel there. The sizzle of Banh Xeo will be the only sound you hear as you walk through the streets of Vietnam while being surrounded by an astounding assortment of other street food aromas. These crispy pancake crepes from Vietnam are a serious street dish that is one of the top 10 Vietnamese dishes to try and indulge with.
Some sources claim that Banh xeo originated among the Khmer in the South over a lengthy period, while others suggest that Central Vietnamese immigrants to the South brought this Vietnamese street cuisine with them. Another hypothesis holds that Banh Xeo is an adaptation of the Indian “Dosa,” which was introduced to Vietnam by Chams who inhabited south-central Vietnam until the 19th century.
Though the exact history of these delectable pancakes is unknown, most people assume that the first Bánh xèo originated in central Vietnam. The bánh xèo was so well-liked during the Tay Son era that villagers would substitute it for their customary meal on the second and sixteenth day of the lunar month instead of eating their usual rice diet.
The Countless Variations of Banh Xeo
The original pancake from central Vietnam has given rise to innumerable varieties, regardless of its provenance. While further south in the provinces of Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, and Binh Thuan, cook swap pork and bean sprouts for seafood and a particularly delicious medley of fish sauce, chilis, and peanut sauce, locals in Binh Dinh, Quang Ngai, and Quang Nam provinces wrap their medium-sized Banh xeo in rice paper. Sometimes these tiny crepes are covered in crisp greens, and other times they are not.
Vietnamese cooks in the center of the country serve star fruit and banana alongside their dishes, while those in the south may top their pancakes with lotus, coconut, or even mushrooms. Everyone varies the exact proportions of the components, while some uses Vietnamese dipping sauce, so of course, it can include lemon, chile, fish sauce, and a ton of other stuff.
The size of the bánh xèo increases as you travel further south. Giant crepes filled with mung beans, pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and other ingredients are served with a plate of herbs and fresh greens in Can Tho, Bien Hoa, and Saigon.
Banh Xeo’s Popularity
However, the dish’s popularity in the southern hub is a more recent development. According to VnEconomy, bánh xèo was not all that popular in Saigon during the 1960s or 1970s as more workers, some of whom were from central Vietnam, flocked to the city. However, in the 1980s, as more of these workers arrived, bánh xèo started to gain in popularity. Farmers used to wrap the crepes in banana leaves and transport them with them to the rice fields, making bánh xèo an extremely delectable and handy supper.
As more central Vietnamese people moved to Saigon, street vendors began to appear selling this savory pancake, a dish that was strictly for the working class and was known as bnh dân. However, bánh xèo ultimately made its way into restaurants as more affluent Saigonese learned about the cuisine. Even though well-known chains like Banh Xeo Muoi Xiem and An La Ghien are now well-known across the country, the plethora of Vietnamese street food sections is still the greatest.
How is Banh Xeo eaten?
Eating Banh Xeo is an artistic experience. Break off a piece of your hot, crispy crepe and wrap it in some fresh greens before dipping the whole thing in the tangy, tart, and sweet nuoc cham sauce. The food called “bánh xèo” is designed to be eaten with your hands. Always served with this dish is a sizable serving of mixed greens. The sole essential herb in this recipe is mint; the other often used herbs are cilantro and Vietnamese perilla. In a pinch, green leaf lettuce can be used in place of the mustard greens. However, you are free to include anything you like.
Banh Xeo can also be consumed on rice paper. The delectable Vietnamese dish Goi Cuon is most frequently made with rice paper, although Banh Xeo can also be enjoyed this way. First, separate your folded Banh xeo pancake into bite-sized pieces and place each one flat on rice paper that has been wet. Lay out your chosen leaves and herbs such as basil, mint, sprouts, and lettuce. Eat the pancake by tightly rolling it up and dipping it in the nuoc mam sauce.
The flavorful Banh Xeo Experience
A crunchy and chewy ingredient will be present in the first bite of Banh Xeo, and it will be extremely exquisite. It tastes extra delicious when dressed with nuoc mam, a sweet and sour sauce. When you go even deeper into the dish, you’ll discover that the crepe has been rolled with bean sprouts, pork belly, and prawns, making the heartier portion of the meal superbly delicious and nutritious. As you bite into it, you’ll experience the invading signature of a golden yellow exterior that results from the tumeric that is mixed into the batter.