Bánh Căn

Bánh căn is a Vietnamese mini pancake often found in the central region, featuring rice flour batter and various toppings.

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
  • Street Food
  • Traditional
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Fact: Bánh căn is believed to be the ancestor of bánh khọt, a popular mini pancake dish in Southern Vietnam.

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Basic Information

Bánh Căn: Basic Information

Pronunciation

bahn kan

Alternative Name(s)

No

Dish Type

Pancakes, rice dishes

Course

Non-course dish

Mealtime

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Popular Variations

No
Origin and Region

Bánh Căn: Origin and Region

Origin

Vietnam

Continent’s Region

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

Central Vietnam

Associated Region

Unspecified
Vietnam Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Bánh Căn: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Rice flour and eggs (or pork or shrimp)

Main Cooking Method

Pan-frying

Preparation Process

Creating a rice flour batter, pouring the rice batter into the molds in a clay pan, adding toppings and cooking with the lid on, removing the pancakes and serving them hot.
A Deep Dive

Bánh Căn: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

Popular dish derived from the culinary heritage of Cham people in Central Vietnam

Taste

Savory

Texture

Crispy outside, soft inside

Aroma

Rich

Color

Off-white and slightly browned

Serving Style

In a bowl and eaten with chopsticks

Serving Temperature

Hot

Accompaniment

  1. Garnish: Fried shallots and chopped scallions sautéd in oil
  2. Protein: Hard-boiled eggs, pork skin, braised fish, fishcake, xíu mại
  3. Fruits and vegetables: Green mangoes, green star fruits, lettuce, extra chili peppers
  4. Dipping sauce: Nước chấm, mắm nêm, peanut sauce, shacha sauce or ground chili pepper, fish soup broth, braised fish or xíu mại sauce

Occasions

On any occasions

Seasons

Year-round

Special Diets

Gluten-free

Calories

Unspecified

Popularity

Central Vietnam

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Bánh Khọt
  2. Bánh Xèo
  3. Appam
  4. Serabi
  5. Bindae-Tteok

Popular Dining Area

Street vendors and restaurants

Bánh căn is a Vietnamese mini pancake-like dish popular in the central region, especially in Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, and Khanh Hoa provinces and Da Lat city in Lam Dong Province.

Banh Can Overview

It is made from rice flour batter topped with various ingredients, such as scallions, eggs, minced pork, or seafood.

Locals cook bánh canh in a special pan with round molds. The pan is made of clay or cast iron, with Bau Truc village in Ninh Thuan as the leading supplier of the clay variant.

The cook brushes the molds with oil, adds rice batter and toppings, then covers and fries bánh căn until the pancakes are golden. Bánh căn is typically served in pairs with various savory dishes, vegetables, and dipping sauces.

There are more interesting facts about this traditional dish and street food waiting for you, such as its origin, main ingredients, accompaniments, upsides, and downsides. I will also cover commonly asked questions about bánh căn and suggest similar dishes.

Key Points

  • Bánh căn is a Vietnamese mini pancake dish in the central region.
  • The main ingredients of bánh căn are rice flour and toppings like eggs, pork, seafood, or scallions.
  • Bánh căn was created by the indigenous Cham people and adopted by the Vietnamese.
  • Bánh căn has many different accompaniments, including savory main dishes, vegetables, and dipping sauces.
  • Bánh căn is different from bánh khọt.

Bánh Căn Images

What Is the Origin of Bánh Căn?

Bánh căn hails from the cuisine of Champ people, an ethnic minority in Central Vietnam. The origin of the name isn’t clear, but some people speculate that it was actually derived from “căng” (“swelling, puffing”), referring to how the pancake puffs up after steaming.

Bánh căn is the inspiration for bánh khọt, a well-known mini pancake dish in Southern Vietnam. Over its long history, bánh căn has also developed into many variations, especially in the central region. Those variations feature a wide range of ingredients and offer many different flavors.

What Is Bánh Căn Made of?

Below are the 6 main components of bánh căn, including the garnishes and accompaniments.

ComponentsCharacteristics
Rice batterMade from rice flour, tapioca starch or cold rice, water
ToppingsEggs (especially quail and chicken eggs), seafood (such as shrimp and squids), pork
GarnishFried shallots and chopped scallions sautéd in oil
Accompaniments (protein)Hard-boiled eggs, pork skin, braised fish, fishcake, xíu mại (pork meatballs in tomato sauce)
Accompaniments (fruits and vegetables)Green mangoes, green star fruits, lettuce, extra chili peppers
Dipping saucesHas one or several of the following choices:

Sweet and sour nước chấm (Vietnamese dipping sauce)

Mắm nêm (a type of pungent fish sauce with fermented fish solids)

Peanut sauce

Shacha sauce or ground chili pepper

Fish soup broth

Braised fish or xíu mại sauce

The diversity of toppings and accompaniments is a significant advantage of bánh canh. Let’s discover other merits and possible shortcomings that this pancake dish has.

Pros and Cons of Eating Bánh Căn

Bánh căn has the positive and negative attributes below.

Pros

  • Diverse Flavor Profile: Bánh căn has many flavors thanks to its diverse toppings and accompaniments, such as savory protein-rich food, sour mangoes, refreshing leafy greens, sweet and sour sauces, etc.
  • Versatility: Locals have bánh căn for all meals, such as breakfast, lunch, or as a snack. In addition, bánh canh can be made with various ingredients, such as seafood, pork, or even vegetables and mushrooms for vegetarians.
  • Street Food Experience: Bánh căn is one of the highlights of Southern Vietnam’s street food landscape. This pancake dish is usually prepared in front of customers and served hot for the best experience.
  • Nutritional Value: A serving of bánh căn is a balanced meal with all the unnecessary nutrients, such as carbs, protein, fat, and fiber.

Cons

  • Caloric Content: Depending on the toppings, bánh căn can be high in calories.
  • Limited Availability: Outside of Vietnam, it may be difficult to find authentic bánh căn or the type of specialized molds for preparing this pancake dish.

With these pros and cons in mind, complete your understanding of bánh căn by exploring the answers to commonly asked questions about this pancake dish.

Bánh Căn FAQs

Bánh căn consists of a simple rice flour batter, requires minimal oil to cook, and comes with many choices of dipping sauces. By contrast, bánh khọt is made from a golden mixture of rice flour and turmeric, cooked in a large amount of oil, and usually served with slightly sweet nước chấm.

Many cities in Central Vietnam are famous for their interpretations of bánh canh, namely Phan Thiet, Phan Rang, Nha Trang, and Da Lat

Yes, traditional bánh căn is gluten-free and generally safe for people with celiac disease. However, some vendors may prepare bánh căn with gluten-contaminated toppings or dipping sauces, so it’s best to inquire with them about the ingredients for peace of mind.

Similar Dishes of Bánh Căn

Banh Khot

Bánh khọt is a Vietnamese savory mini pancake made from rice flour and is topped with shrimp for serving with a dipping sauce.

Banh Xeo

Bánh xèo is a Vietnamese stuffed pancake consisting of rice flour batter, pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and other toppings.

Truc Tran (Kris)

Truc Tran (Kris)

Senior Food Editor

Expertise

Home Cooking, Meal Planning, Recipe Development, Baking and Pastry, Food Editor, Cooking-video Maker, Vietnamese Food Evaluation Expert

Education

  • Hospitality (Commercial Cookery) at TasTAFE
  • Culinary Arts at Kendall College (Australia Branch in Sydney)
  • Vietnamese Cuisine Head Chef at HNAAu School (Vietnam, International Joint Training Program)

Truc Tran (Kris), an experienced food writer and editor, is great at exploring and describing global cuisines, from simple street food to fancy dining. In her writing, she skillfully mixes different flavors, cooking methods, and culinary traditions, showing the unique character of various cultures through their food and drinks. On azcuisines.com, Kris highlights her knowledge, especially in Asian cuisine and worldwide traditional dishes.

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