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Walking in Cumbria and Beyond

Cooking Bánh Xeo

I am frequently asked ‘what do you like most about Ho Chi Minh’.  The answer: food and people. And in the absence of mountains my ‘social media’ posts of one kind or another frequently feature food either cooked or uncooked.   As luck would have it one  of the lovely people I have met is a fantastic cook and today I had a cookery lesson. 



Been and bean sprouts waiting to be cooked


How to make bánh xeo, crispy pancakes.  Not that I’ll ever be able to reproduce them.  My excuses  a) the lack of ingredients, b) the rather unique cooking stove and c) they are very hard to get right.

But I spent my morning helping to  transform this 


Batter made with rice flour, beer, onions and water

and this


Salad leaves and herbs


Into this…

bánh xeo

crispy pancake – bánh xeo


There was a lot of chopping and stirring involved. Vietnamese food takes a lot of ingredients and a lot of preparation, but  the end result was delicious.


charcoal cooking

cooking beef and shrimp

The main dish, the pancakes are made from a batter of rice flour, water, beer, onions and cumin.  A pan is heated over the charcoal stove and a thin layer of batter added.  Then beef, shrimp, bean sprouts and finally quails eggs are put on top.  Put on a lid and wait.  The skill is in making the pancake thin enough and leaving it long enough so that it turns crispy but is still soft enough to fold and not stick to the pan.  My attempts were not that professional!

quail eggs

Adding Quails eggs


A sauce is made from sugar, fish sauce, (a staple ingredient in any Vietnamese kitchen) onions, garlic, chilli carrots and an other root vegetable which I can not name.

been sprouts

and a few bean sprouts

I am getting used to having salad leaves to dunk in my soup and was not surprised to have enough  leaves to feed several rabbits on the table.  All had to be stripped from stalks and washed. 


Sauce for dipping


Once the pancakes were cooked they were eaten by rolling pieces in leaves rather like cos lettuce, with a few smaller leaves thrown in for good measure. The mini roll is then dipped in the sauce before eating.


salad leaf

and finally.. break it all up and eat in a leaf

Ngon qua – Delicious!


Oh, and is if to remind me of where I actually come from; well Peter Rabbit gets everywhere!

Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit

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  1. Well, Alvina….with another session or two you just might make it on to Masterchef Vietnam!


  1. Extraordinary to Extra Ordinary – Saigon - […] luck would have it one  of the lovely people I have met is a fantastic cook and I am…

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