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What do you know about banh khot?


Cooking banh khot in Vung Tau City. (inset) A dish of banh khot at Goc Vu Sua stall in Vung Tau City.

Possibly no one knows when banh khot (a somewhat small Vietnamese pancake) appeared in Vietnam’s cuisine and people are sure if the popular and cheap dish is the specialty of the southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. However, many Vietnamese know that the neighbours of Ho Chi Minh City, especially Vung Tau City, are well-known for having many stalls selling delicious banh khot.

A banh khot stallholder on Ba Cu Street in Vung Tau City, who has been named Ms. Muoi by guests, said that the general method to make banh khot is the same at every stall, but each one focuses on different details to create specific characters to attract more guests.

Rice, cold rice after being cooked or rice crust at the bottom of the pot, shrimp, ground dried shrimp, nuoc mam (fish sauce) and vegetables are the main ingredients of the dish.

Muoi said that first she mills the mix of rice and cold rice after being cooked into flour before pouring the flour into a mould that has nearly 50 small holes in the shape of a half circle. After that, she adds dried shrimp and fresh shrimp to the holes. Diners can eat the dish after the mix’s skin becomes yellow. “Rolling the banh khot with vegetables and using fish sauce is the feasible way to enjoy the banh khot,” she said, adding that a banh khot dish contains 8-10 pieces.

The owner of the Banh Khot Goc Vu Sua stall on Nguyen Truong To Street, which is said to serve the most delicious banh khot dishes in the city, has a different specific detail to attract diners. “In the flour mix, besides rice, we also use rice crust from the bottom of the pot so that the cake becomes crisper,” the owner said. “Moreover, for the vegetable, we use many cabbages. The combination the slight bitterness of the cabbage, banh khot’s crispness and the fish sauce’s saltiness is wonderful for diners.”

The stall is now some 21 years old, the same age as the owner’s daughter, who is being trained to inherit her mother’s stall.

Available for breakfast or light meals

Because of the popularity of the dish in small pieces, the banh khot can be eaten for breakfast. “Especially on weekends, when people are off work, the mornings are peak times at our stall with many diners coming here to enjoy banh khot for breakfast,” the Banh Khot Cay Vu Sua’s owner said.

When travelling to other banh khot stalls from Banh Khot Co Hai on Ky Dong Street to Banh Khot Ms. Muoi on Ba Cu Street or others on Hoang Hoa Tham Street, they are found to be just as busy.

In the afternoon when school or work is finished, friends can drop in at a stall to enjoy banh khot pieces as a light meal.

The Banh Khot Rach Dua Stall on Ba Muoi Thang Tu Street, about 5 km from the city’s downtown, can be an interesting option because it only serves banh khot in the afternoon. Although it is a good distance from downtown, many residents and tourists visit there to dine because of its quality.

At night, especially on weekends, is also a favourite time to enjoy banh khot. During the trip around the Vung Tau City, tourists can visit a banh khot stall to enjoy the dish while relaxing in the quiet atmosphere and cool wind from the sea.

It is said that besides seafood, which is already famous there, tourists can enjoy a banh khot tour when visiting Vung Tau to understand more about the specialty.

A banh khot dish includes 8-10 small pieces. Prices start from VND 10,000-15,000 a dish.

Some banh khot stalls in Vung Tau:

Banh khot Goc Vu Sua: 14 Nguyen Truong To Street, Ward, Vung Tau City, tel: (064) 523 465.

Banh khot Ba Hai: 42 Tran Dong Street, Ward 3, Vung Tau City

Banh khot Ba Muoi: Ba Cu Street, Ward 4, Vung Tau City. (SGT)

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