Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rolled rice cake (bánh cuốn)

Few days ago, I check online news and found Vietnam together with other 20 (or maybe more) countries are most famous for street foods! In South East Asia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore...are among the best! Proud of it!

Today, for your food tour, I take you to small stall (Thiên Hương - 155 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai street, dist.1) to taste another special street food called "bánh cuốn" (rolled rice cake).

Steamed rolled rice cake with egg (new recipe!) at Thiên Hương
I love this steamed rice cake since I was kid. At that time whenever I buy this cake from small stall right in Cao Thắng street - opposite Thăng Long cinema, I keep watching how the old speaking-Northern-accent woman makes this cake on the huge steam pot, then with long chopstick she moves a thin, white sheet of this steamed rice batter to the plate, and she rolls it with ground pork, mushroom...
Luckily, I found two video on Youtube to demonstrate this amazing process! One from gluttonista (thanks!) - steamed rolled cake with egg at Thiên Hương, another - from kratzke (also thanks!) - traditional one!

Bánh cuốn comes from Hà Nội and we, in the South, have quite similar concept dish (rolled - steamed - rice batter) - and being a kid, I always call our southern style bánh ướt (wet cake!!!) same as rolled cake.  Make it simple? Rolled cake (bánh cuốn) with filling, wet cake (bánh ướt) - no filling, thicker and more chewy!
Traditional rice rolled cake (bánh cuốn) with filling.
Wet cake (bánh ướt) with silk ham (chả lụa) and fried shallot. 
Both rolled and wet cake served with some slightly cooked bean sprout, fried dark-brown shallot (hành phi), sweet fish sauce  and Vietnamese ham (usually two kinds of ham: silk ham (chả lụa) and cinnamon ham (chả quế). My literally translation for these two ham only for reference, if you say it in English to Vietnamese, it's hard for them to guess what you are talking about!
Jug of juice? No, fish sauce! 
Two kinds of ham! 

Besides, bánh cuốn (rolled cake) in certain places, they may add very few drops of giant water bug's essence (tinh dầu cà cuống), make rolled cake more tasty! I tried it in Hanoi, but to be honest I don't like it!

One more thing,  usually whenever we eat something with filling, we always wish - the more filling, the better, but for rolled cake, many people prefer more rice thin-as-sheet cake and less filling as we love the texture of steamed rice cake! Soft as silk, a bit chewy, a bit oily...mixed with sweet, spicy taste from fish sauce! Perfect!
Rolled rice cake in Hanoi is different than in the South, the filling, the fish sauce are different.

And the most difference between two cakes - rolled cakes is steamed in the shop only when your order, wet cake has been steamed long in advance at somewhere else and sold widely in the market!


  1. Anh Huu oi,

    Noi' ve banh uot' anh co dip thu banh uot o Bay Hien^` (opposite Benh Vien Thong^' Nhat) chua? May^' nam truoc luc em lam viec o Vn cung hay toi' do' an nuoc mam^' va banh uot rat^' ngon. Con` co' che dau^. xanh nua~...hihi. Quan nay chi mo~ at night thoi.

    O SG minh nuoc mam^' ho. lam rat ngon va cha~ luc or cha chien^. Ben em ho. ban' ko co mui` cha~ luon do'...chi mui` bot^. thoi ..hic hic

    Anh co thu' cho em biet y kien^' cua anh nhe... :) Mai mot ve em se thu banh uot thien Huong cua anh..hihi

    Chuc anh mot buoi toi vui ve :)

    1. Cam on Lauren, se den cho em noi de thu banh uot. That ra o Saigon co nhieu cho ban street food rat ngon, co dieu lam sao de suu tam duoc het, len thanh mot guide cho moi nguoi rat kho. Em share blog nay cung voi ban be, de moi nguoi co them nhieu input nua thi cang hay. Thanks a lot!


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