VietnaMenu

A Food Lover's Travel Guide to the Best of Vietnamese Food

Banh Khoai

Happy Pancake

This imperial dish was created in Hue to appease a hungry emperor. Khoái roughly translates to 'happy'. It's been said that it gets the name from the look of the folded over pancake -- like a big smiling mouth. It's similar to banh xeo, but it's smaller and contains chunks of pork rather than ground pork. The smaller size means you eat it faster and it doesn't get soggy. Crispiness is key to the dish's deliciousness. To eat it: grab a piece of rice paper, fill it with your favorite greens, some starfruit and young banana, and a nice chunk of the rice flour pancake. Then roll it up and dip it in the fermented soy bean sauce for an extra kick of umami. The pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and crispy batter are the highlights of your bite, but the other elements compliment the taste.

You might struggle to find this dish outside of Hue -- you'll probably have to go to a Hue-themed restaurant, but don't think that just because you've had banh xeo you don't need to try bánh khoái. The differences are subtle but your taste buds will know.

Where To Find It:

Hue
Nhà Hàng Lạc Thiên Quán - 6 Đinh Tiên Hoàng
Banh Khoai or Happy Hue pancake