Happy New Year foodies!
I hoped everyone had had wonderful Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Believe it or not, the festivities are not yet over as we still have the big Tet festival (also known as lunar or Chinese New Year) in a couple of weeks time.
Unlike the western new year, Tet celebrates the arrival of spring, based on the lunar calendar and officially lasts for five days.
I only just realised that, as of December, this Local Eats column is five years old. Who would have guessed it would have lasted this long? Your support has kept Local Eats going for so long. Without you I would have packed in a long time ago.
So thank you!
I thought by now I would have written just about every local dish possible, but I could not have been more wrong.
Because I haven’t yet told you about banh khot, a savoury mini pancake originally from Vung Tau, a popular beachside getaway 2.5 hours from Saigon.
Banh khot is made with rice flour, coconut milk, turmeric powder, mung beans, salt and shrimp.
It’s fried in a type pan similar to a cupcake caddy, but much shallower and thicker.
Banh khot is not as well-known as its big sister, banh xeo.
Banh xeo is around plate-sized, thin and crispy, while banh khot are much smaller (think bite-sized).
Topped with shrimp and chopped green onion, it’s served with a dish piled high with lettuce, mustard leaves and assorted herbs, as well pickled radish, carrots and marinated fish sauce for dipping.
It’s the ultimate finger food and one of Vietnam’s tapas-style dishes, like spring rolls, nem nuong (grilled pork sausage) and chao tom (grilled shrimp paste on sugarcane sticks).
Each baby banh khot pancake is wrapped in a lettuce or mustard leaf wrapper, along with the herbs — perilla, basil — the pickled radish and carrots, then dipped into the dipping sauce.
1. Banh Khot Dang Dung
Alley 32 Dang Dung Street, District 1
Open 11am to 5pm
2. Banh Khot Vung Tau Khanh
7 Dong Nai Street, District 10
Open 3pm to 10pm
3. Hoang Yen Buffet
52 Ngo Duc Ke Street, District 1
Open 10am to 10pm.