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

Banh Beo

Steamed Rice Cakes

Another dish that originated in Hue, these little circles of tastiness are made out of blended rice, a combination of rice flour and tapioca flour, or special banh beo rice flour (which is probably just a blend of rice flour and tapioca flour). Traditionally, they are steamed in a small ceramic dish called a chén. Sometimes you will even see the dish advertised as bánh bèo chén. They can also be made in banh beo moulds or even muffin trays. Once the batter is finished steaming, toppings are sprinkled on. They vary depending on the region and the cook, but the traditional Hue version includes diced shrimp. Other versions substitute ground pork. Usually chopped scallions will be used, and often there will be small pieces of pork crackling or croutons sprinkled on top as well. Other options may include: mung bean paste, cucumber, and pickled daikon/carrot. It's best eaten with a spicy nuoc mam cham (sweet and sour fish sauce with chili). In Vietnamese, bánh bèo means "water fern cake". Named that because of their resemblence to the plant. There are larger versions of this dish, but I prefer the small little bowls so I can stack the empty ones as I go creating a tower of satisfaction.

Where To Find It:

Ho Chi Minh City
Nam Giao - 136/15 Lê Thánh Tôn, District 1