Pho Noodle Soup, Vietnamese Bread, Vietnamese Pancake are must-eaten foods to taste in Vietnam. Vietnamese Pancake or Xeo Cake is a crepe made from rice flour, filled with meat, seafood, veggies and eaten with dipping fish sauce, herbs, veggies, rice paper and pickles. In the country, there are not less than ten versions of Xeo Cake in different regions. Xeo Cake in South Vietnam is the biggest, it is usually filled with pork, shrimp, mung bean and bean sprouts and wrapped in greens to eat. In Central Vietnam, the cake is as small as human hand and wrapped in rice paper to eat. In coastal towns, they fill Xeo Cake with squid, octopus, shell meat. In Hue, the cake is called Khoai Cake which isn’t served with dipping fish sauce but a very special dipping sauce from pig’s liver, sesames, peanuts, Ban fertilized sauce (Tuong Ban). In this post, I would like to introduce a unique Vietnamese Pancake – Quang Hoa Vietnamese Pancake. Quang Hoa is a village in Quang Binh province (Central Vietnam). It has been famous for Xeo Cake made from red rice and Banana Fish served with the cake.
Red rice flour, Banana Fish, pan to fry, salad make the cake different and special. Xeo Cake in Quang Binh style isn’t made of rice flour like other kinds of Xeo Cake, it is made of red rice flour. The rice must be soaked with water for about 5 hours, then ground twice with water, salt and garlic chives. The pan used to cook the cake must be made by Quang Hoa people. The pan is a little bigger than rice bowl, its bottom is flat and its side is about 1.5 cm high. The cook must be skilfull enough to keep the fire red so that the cake blooms fully into the desired size and shape.
The Banana Fish is another part of this amazing dish. What is Banana Fish? Banana Fish is made from Porcelain Bananas – a type of banana that has many seeds. The cook chooses bananas which are not too ripe and not too green. They are peeled and dipped in lemon sauce before being cut into small pieces. Then the cook boils pieces of banana and bend them into different shapes of shrimps or fishes. After that, these pieces are dipped quickly in the bowl of spices. Finally, we arrange all Banana Fishes on a plate and pour fish sauce (with garlic and chili) on so that each piece would have an equally spicy taste.
Xeo Cake from red rice is served hot with Vietnamese rice crackers (Banh Da), Banana Fish, veggies and salad made from sesame, bean sprouts and a special kind of vegetable called Ket. To eat, dinner wraps a piece of Xeo Cake, veggies, salad and Banana Fish in piece of Banh Da. It is a perfect blend of crispy Banh Da, crispy outside but tender inside cake, spicy Banana Fish, fresh veggies and salad.