Each Vietnamese has their favorite, go-to recipes for the first meal of the day. Like what the origin of its name suggests, breakfast – breaking the fast, is the most important meal of a day. Not only does it kick-start your metabolism, but it also provides you with all the energy you need to focus at work or at school.
Why is eating banh cuon a thing to do in Hanoi?
Vietnamese rolled rice cake – a favorite cake in Hanoi
Vietnam in general and its capital city, in particular, is famous for its wonderful rice staples so enjoy this mouthwatering collection, breakfast time will never be the same again. Some Vietnamese like slurping a hot bowl of Pho and others find themselves a serving of xoi xeo – sticky rice topped with ground de-hulled mung bean and crispy fried onion. And it will be unfair not to mention banh cuon – Vietnamese steamed rice cake, which wins the heart of all Hanoians of all ages.
If you are a food connoisseur or you are familiar with the taste of Hanoi rolled rice cake, you will find that each kind of banh cuon has its own awesome features, from its appearance to its flavor.
How many kinds of rolled rice cakes are there in Hanoi?
Hanoi is not the only city to have rolled rice cake, but no other places can beat this city in term of the variety of banh cuon – a must-eat in Hanoi.
Vietnam has many kinds of banh cuon, from Thanh Tri rolled rice cake; pork rolled rice cake; rolled rice cake with mushroom, pork, and shrimp; rolled rice cake with grilled meat; rolled rice cake with egg; rolled rice cake with squid sausage; to some rare version like chicken rolled rice cake.
Thanh Tri rolled rice cake (banh cuon Thanh Tri)
Thanh Tri rolled rice cake
Thanh Tri rolled rice cake is one of the first things that comes to mind when we talk about Vietnamese rice cakes. Unlike rolled cake in South Vietnam, a dish of Thanh Tri rolled rice cake consists of some thin, flexible, tough sheets of steamed rice, often with no meat inside. That dish is colorized with shredded wood ear mushroom and crispy deep-fried shallots sprinkled on top. You may feel surprised to know that this kind of rolled rice cake is often served cold.
What can be better than several cold and soft overlapped rice layers dipped in the hot nước chấm (fish sauce with sugar, water, lemon juice, and chili) on a cold winter morning? The elegant dipping sauce of this classic Hanoi breakfast is punched up with the essence of lethocerus indicus (ca cuong). However, ca cuong is nowadays scarce and quite expensive, therefore, not widely used.
Cinnamon lean pork pie (cha que) or Vietnamese Pork sausage (Cha lua), or sometimes fried tofu can be served together. Vegetarians can enjoy these cakes themselves. Beautiful presentation and quintessential taste make this dish go up on your list of priorities during a busy morning.
Pork rolled rice cake and rolled rice cake with mushroom, pork, chicken and shrimp (banh cuon nhan thit)
Banh cuon nhan thit
Unlike the original version of Thanh Tri rolled rice cake, this kind of banh cuon has fillings and is best served hot. Wide, thin, and delicate steamed rice sheets, deep-fried onion, and elegant fish sauce are the same. But hidden inside is marinated ground meat (chicken, shrimp, or pork) and minced wood ear mushroom.
Despite the well-seasoned ingredients, do not expect something strong, the overall taste is mild. Enhance the flavor is the salty, sour, sweet dipping sauce. Thanks to the thin rice crepe paper, you will be full but not too full after eating.
Where can you find the best banh cuon in Hanoi?
Best banh cuon in Hanoi
Most Vietnamese guides would tell you the same thing – the best places to get your Vietnamese rolled rice cakes fix are in the following establishments:
- Bánh cuốn Thanh Vân – 12 – 14 Hang Ga Street, Old Quarter, Hanoi
- 14 Bao Khanh, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
- No. 19 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, Hai Ba Trung District
- Bánh cuốn Gia An – 25 Thai Phien Street, Hai Ba Trung District.
- Bánh cuốn Bà Triệu – 101 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi
- Bánh cuốn Bà Hoành – 66 To Hien Thanh, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi
Most Vietnamese foods are made with a lot of detailing and banh cuon is not an exception. All the cooking stages and ingredients are important – right from its main component, to the presentation as well as the fine garnishing.