Beside the popular breakfast dishes of local people like Pho, Bun (vermicelli) or Banh Mi, then Banh Cuon (stuffed pancake) is another option for people here: soften, easy, nice and nutritious; and extremely suitable for a hot summer day and looking for something fresh and cool.
According to written documentation, Banh Cuon appeared in the Northern area of Vietnam, but did not specific criticize about the timing, but one thing for certain: this dish has been listed as one of the national cuisine for long ago. In some other fairy story, this dish appeared in King Hung-dynasty; An Quoc- a friend of prince- taught the citizen here to make this dish.
Each province has own way to prepare, cook and enjoy in different way; based on the layer-cover of this pancake. The outstanding of Banh Cuon compare to other kind of Pancake is: the layer-cover is thin & soft, cleverly wrapping and enrolling the dumpling inside..
Cooking and tasting
Base on a long time of wet rice agriculture historical, from very first day, Banh Cuon had became part of this story and associate with the living of farmers: rice flour. The rice must have high quality, white fragrant, soaked for hours and clearly washed before grind into flour. All this procedure to ensure the flour is soften, smooth without any ripple. (1)
First, you place the steamer pot and stretch a thin cloth over the top; then pour a little mixture of rice flour and water on steamer pot (on a certain formula) , rub evenly on the surface of the cloth to roll the Banh Cuon become thin; then apply a little cooking oil to easily remove as well as creating a little fat flavor (2)
After the pancake is cooked, remove it with a bamboo chopstick, then rolling & wrapping with a little dumpling, which was made of minced pork, crushed shrimp, types of mushroom. Sprinkle on top a little dry-onion and some coriander and mint leave.
At last, the broth is another thing that decide this dish is success or not, since many local diners considered broth is even more important than the pancake. Broth is made of hot water, some sugar, fish sauce and 1 or 2 lethoserus indicus (an insect group). Lemon or garlic vinegar is added depend on the taste of guests, as well as chili or pepper.
Banh Cuon is not high class or luxurious dish, not sophisticated, just a very simple breakfast of this land and satisfied the hunger of all eater-classes in society.3