Bánh Cuốn (Vietnamese steamed rice rolls) is a must-try food in Vietnam. Bánh Cuốn can be found around every street corner of Vietnam, particularly in Hanoi. Bánh Cuốn can also be found in different provinces in Vietnam, but in Hanoi is where the dish is the most delicious and most original.
What is Bánh Cuốn ?
Bánh Cuốn looks like a soft spring roll, filled with a mixture of pork, onions, wood ear mushrooms, and fish sauce. It tastes delicious and the ingredients are actually common foods. For those are familiar with Bánh Cuốn, it becomes favorite breakfast food. For those have not yet ever try the dish, once taste it, you soon fall in love with its flavor.
Starting with a steamed rice roll cooked in a pot, covered by thin fabric, until it is very thin. Then it is scrapped off the pot with a flexible bamboo stick. After that, the roll is filled with a mixture of pork, wood ear mushrooms, onions, and fish sauce. The origin of Bánh Cuốn is traced from Northern Vietnam, the exact date and time it was first made are unknown but it seems hard to deny that Banh Cuon has been made for years and served over and over again.
Ranking first among members f the extended noodle family, Bánh Cuốn features a paper-thin steamed rice four-pan cake, like delicate sheets of fresh rice with a warm fish sauce broth and some slides of Chả Lụa while listening to the sounds of Hanoi in the morning will be a memorable experience for guests traveling to this city.
The filling comes with various recipes depend upon where you eat Bánh Cuốn. A delicious filling commonly tastes across the country is ground pork mixes with finely chopped jicama, minced onion and shallot and dry fungus. All ingredients are well-incorporated and seasoning to taste with a few spoonfuls of fish sauce and a dash of ground pepper. The mixture, then, stirs fry to thoroughly cook. A couple tablespoons of filling are placed on a hot rice sheet which is then folded up and roll. The transparency of a look-like rice paper exposes the stuffing inside signals an earthy and delicious roll is ready to serve.
Where and when to eat Bánh Cuốn?
Bánh Cuốn stands face their rush times during breakfast and dinner, so it is difficult to find stalls still selling the dish in late morning or evening. Use your better judgment when eating from street vendors, but on average I find that Banh cuon carts are some of the cleaner carts on the street, and wearing plastic gloves is a common practice among these vendors.
Today, Vietnamese families across Vietnam and in the country outside Vietnam use a non-stick pan to make Bánh Cuốn. The recipe remains the same with traditional one, the rice sheet won’t be as thin as steaming on the cloth covered pot but the result will still be satisfactory. Practically, this method is uniquely home-made and easy to use. It becomes very popular since many families now can make Bánh Cuốn at home and at any time they desire for a comfort roll.
You can taste Banh Cuon at some small restaurants in Hanoi or some vendors in Hanoi street corner. A plate will usually cost between 15,000 and VND20,000 on the street and, if you are afraid of the carts, between 25,000 and VND50,000 in some local restaurant.
A different version of Bánh Cuốn which are found in Thanh Trì district – a southern district of Hanoi and Kenh village of Nam Định province. We call them Bánh Cuốn Thanh Trì and Banh Cuon Lang Kenh. The interesting is that these kinds of Vietnamese Steamed Rice Roll aren’t rolls, but just slightly steamed rice sheets and served with sliced pork pie, deep-fried chopped shallot or prawn.
Hope you have a wonderful time in Hanoi!
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