Banh xeo cu hu dua (palmito rice pancake) in Can Tho
Western Region’s style banh xeo is not hard to find in Can Tho, but to find a“genuine” banh xeo diner with affordable price, tourists should not miss “Bay Toi”,a famous place for eating and drinking located on Cai Son - Hang Bang Street.
The first impression of visitors is on the kitchen close to the wall near the front door. Normally, diners often place their kitchen behind the house, out of customers’ sight. Here, the rows of charcoal stoves with crust molds are displayed for the customers to observe the ingenuity of the chef at work.
A good banh xeo needs thin and crispy crust, a stove with high temperature and a steady fire so that the flour can be well-cooked right after poured into the pan. The head chef also needs to be extremely agile when pouring flour into the mold to spread it out for a bigger size pancake.
Besides affordable price, banh xeo of Bay Toi also attracts tourists thanks to its unique flavor. If you are a tourist from afar, you should try both delicious disheshere, banh khot (savory crispy miniature cakes) and banh xeo. In particular, the most famous dish here is Banh xeo cu hu dua.
Palmito is the top part of a coconut tree, lies deep inside the tree-trunk, includingunshown bud and petioles. After harvested, it will be cleaned and softened in water. The chef will mix palmito with other ingredients such as peeled shrimps,julienne pork, bean sprouts. Especially, Western Region’s style banh xeo usuallyhas mung beans inside, which makes it taste fragrant, buttery and sweet. The crust is poured into the mold then the stuffing comes right after. After a fewminutes you already have a dish of golden-colored, fragrant Banh xeo cu hu dua.
To make the dish complete, it needs its own particular sauce. Fish sauce is diluted, mixed with hot pepper, sugar, lemonade and some chopped garlic cloves. Instead of diluting with water, many places use coconut milk so you can feel themoderate and fresh taste when enjoying the cake.
Besides banh xeo, banh khot is also very famous at Bay Toi. The small, round cake has yellowish color, soft and smooth when enjoying with ingredients of flour and eggs. Photo: Minh Duc
People of the Western Region enjoy banh xeo with a wide variety of freshvegetables. Next to the hot, crispy cakes is a dish of varied vegetables such as creek premna, silky leaves (young leaves of mango tree, roseapple tree, etc.), cabbage, etc. Western Region’s style banh xeo does not come along with rice paper roll as in the Northern Region but be split into smaller pieces, put directly onto the leaves and then rolled, dipped into fragrant fish sauce. You can feel thecrispy taste of the crust, crunchy taste of palmito, moreish taste of pork andshrimp.
If you want to vary the menu, let’s choose banh xeo cu dau (jicama ricepancake). This kind of tuber is even more succulent and sweeter than palmito, you can feel the mild, fresh and crunchy tastes when enjoying. A dish of banh xeo costs about 20,000-25,000 VND, enough for two people.
Source: VnExpress - Translated by Ngoc Diep