Banh Xeo, or Vietnamese crepes, are rice flour pancakes that bring a light batter and ample fillings together for one tasty, crispy breakfast or snack!
It’s got that irresistible crispy, yet delicate, golden brown crust. And the inside of the bánh xèo is filled with delicious flavors: pork and shrimp, and sprinklings of mung bean, onions and bean sprouts.
Each region in Vietnam brings a slight variation to the same theme of stuffed thin pancake.
In the southern region Bánh xèo are larger and made with more veggies and mung beans. While in the central regions, they tend to be made smaller and without mung beans. I’ve heard many folks refer to bánh xèo as that “Vietnamese egg dish”. But, there’s actually no egg in the batter for these pancakes. Rather, it’s turmeric that gives the batter its characteristic yellow hue.
1. Using rice flour
The one unique ingredient in these pancakes is rice flour. Rice flour gives these pancakes a slightly chewy texture that balances out the crispness of the cooked side.
2. Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
In Vietnamese cuisine the most common dipping sauce is called Nuoc Cham. And, it is used quite often!
When serving Vietnamese happy pancakes it is essential to have a dipping sauce. The sauce really ties all the flavors and textures together, adding something incredibly special to these pancakes. Sauce is a classic fish sauce-based dipping sauce that creates a beautiful balance between sour, sweet, and salty. And, it’s really easy to make at home.
3. How to eat Banh Xeo
Since Banh Xeo is a street food, it makes sense that this stuffed pancakes is typically eaten with your hands. It is always served with lettuce, either large leaves which make it easy to eat the pancake as a lettuce wrap, or it is simply eaten with a side salad of mixed greens and herbs.
Cut or break off a small 2-bite size piece of banh xeo. Single bite size is too small and time-consuming.
Wrap it in a similarly sized piece of lettuce. You can substitute green leaf lettuce for the mustard greens in a pinch since it tastes good too.
Add a little bit of each of the herbs. Mint is the only must-have herb in this dish with cilantro and Vietnamese perilla being the other commonly used ones, which you should really try to source if you can!
Adding too much can overpower each bite, but you must choose your own path. Make some Vietnamese dipping sauce for the final flavoring and seasoning touches. I like spooning this on for maximum control and less chance of me dropping ingredients into the sauce.