"Banh cuon" or Vietnamese ravioli: a dish among our best delicacies
- on Dec 15, 2020       By: BN
Vietnamese gastronomy is famous around the world not only for the pho and nem but also the "banh cuon", this pork and black mushroom ravioli is a surprise to be enjoyed without hesitation for an unforgettable gourmet trip.
One of the most popular, refined and undoubtedly prized of Vietnamese recipes, freshly prepared banh cuon, are eaten hot and most often enjoyed for breakfast. A simple but divinely delicious dish that is just so good that you will eat it tirelessly at any time of the day. These ravioli are ideal for eating out whenever you're tired of fatty foods in a restaurant or a street canteen. What also contributes to these delicacies is the fact of seeing the traditional manufacturing before your eyes with such delicacy. In a large, smoking pot, the rice dough is poured, extracted and then rolled up with stuffing.
Traditionally stuffed with ground pork and black mushrooms, and including fried onions, they have varied versions from one region to another. Whether it is the original or a new concotion, they are appreciated by the taste of the texture which is as soft as it is leathery. A very thin pancake is steamed in a jiffy before or while you are puttinf the stuffing in it. It goes very well with “giò lụa” and “chả lụa”, Vietnamese pork pates accompanied by bean sprouts and fresh aromatic herbs, especially coriander. With each bite, it is dipped in the fragrant and tasty “nuoc cham” sauce which is the key to its success. If the dosage of flour (of rice and tapioca) used for the dough, or the brine and water for the sauce is not something sophisticated, it stands out as an art of eating well. At first glance, the sauce in the ravioli looks like that of the “nem”. According to gourmets, it is more diluted and less sweet.
Due to its exceptional combination of translucent palettes, sweet and sour sauce, garnish and aromatic herbs, “banh cuon” never ceases to stimulate the imagination of gourmet diners in the countryside. Throughout the country, you can taste so many variations, each of which will seduce you with its particular flavours. Let your taste buds travel by trying our few suggestions.
Spotlight on versions of Vietnamese ravioli, from North to South
Banh cuon Thanh Trì, the simplest ravioli
This version, which owes its name to the Thanh Tri artisan village of Hanoi, is distinguished from many others by the absence of stuffing in the pancake. It relies mainly on the quality of the pallet which, quite flexible, is strewn with cooked spring onions. “Banh cuon” Thanh Tri are perfect with “cha gio”, served with fried onions and coriander.
Banh cuon trung from Lang Son, egg ravioli
This is one of the specialities that cannot be missed at Lang Son. It is the steam cooking method that requires special attention because an egg will be put, in the blink of an eye, in the half-cooked “banh cuon” to finally obtain a completely cooked egg when ready. Note also that from the classic sauce, we add bone broth for a more delicious taste. To eat like a local, we use it with spicy young bamboos shoot in what is truly a unique and striking experience.
Banh cuon cha muc from Quang Ninh, ravioli with squid pancakes
A great seafood lover's delight is surely the squid patties that dominate the ravioli plate, a must-have dish when staying in Halong Bay - Quang Ninh. The local recipe calls for the three ingredients to be perfectly prepared: rice pancake, squid pancake and brine.
Note that gourmets only appreciate squid caught locally and pounded by hand to obtain soft and very delicious pancakes.
Banh cuon tom from Thai Binh, shrimp ravioli
Originally from the Diem Dien district, Thai Binh province to the North, this variant plays the card of yellow shrimp, the quality of which is unquestioned for the filling of local-style pancakes. The chopped, fragrant and vibrant red shrimp complement each other tastily with the supple white palettes. With a sauce prepared with great care, such a plate of “banh cuon” would satisfy the taste buds of the gourmets from the first to the last bite.
Banh cuon cha bo from Saigon, ravioli with beef pate
It is in a unique restaurant located in the 10th district of Saigon that you can try these banh cuon like no other. This is arguably the most colourful and sumptuous of the versions, offering pork pate, fried pork pate, "nem chua" or fermented pork, shrimp pancake and original Quang Nam beef pate. A beautiful marriage of varied tastes is well worth the detour for an exclusive taste break in one of Vietnam's best gastronomic destinations.
Banh cuon uot thit nuong from Hue, fried pork ravioli
Finally, it is very unfortunate to talk about Vietnamese ravioli without mentioning "banh uot cuon thit nuong" or rice cakes with fried pork which is a treat for all visitors to Hue. There are two ways to taste them: either wrap the paddle of rice with stuffing and then dip it in the sauce, or cut the paddle into chunks before using it with fit pork. Note that the Hue style pork with the taste of Hue is marinated in sesame, lemongrass, and chilli to give a special flavour which, with the soft rice cake, will quickly make your mouth water.
Where to eat the best banh cuon in Hanoi?
Bánh cuốn Gia An
Address: 25 Thai Phien Street
Price: between 29-54,000 VND/portion
Bánh cuốn Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm
Address: 19 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street
Price: between 15-20,000 VND/portion
Bánh cuốn Madame Hoành
Address: 66 To Hien Thanh Street
Price: around 30,000 VND/portion
Bánh cuốn Thanh Vân
Address: 12-14 Hang Ga Street
Price: around 30,000 VND/portion
Bánh cuốn Bà Triệu
Address: 101 Ba Trieu Street
Price: between 22-30,000 VND/portion
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