Bánh Canh

Bánh canh is a Vietnamese noodle soup with thick strands of tapioca or rice noodles, meat toppings, herbs, and broth.

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
  • Street Food
  • Traditional
Home » Dishes A-Z » Bánh Canh

Fact: Bánh canh Trang Bang is one of the most widely known specialties in Southern Vietnam.

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Basic Information

Bánh Canh: Basic Information

Pronunciation

/ɓaɲ kaɲ/ or bun-kuhn

Alternative Name(s)

No

Dish Type

Noodle soups, rice dishes.

Course

Main Course

Mealtime

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Origin and Region

Bánh Canh: Origin and Region

Origin

Vietnam

Continent’s Region

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

Southern and Central Vietnam

Associated Region

Unspecified
Vietnam Map
A Deep Dive

Popular Bánh Canh Variations

Ingredients and Preparation

Bánh Canh: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Thick rice noodles, toppings, and herbs.

Main Cooking Method

Boiling and simmering.

Preparation Process

Preparing the broth, cooking other ingredients, assembling bánh canh.
A Deep Dive

Bánh Canh: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

Traditional Vietnamese comfort food

Taste

Savory

Texture

Varies based on ingredients

Aroma

Rich

Color

Varies based on ingredients

Serving Style

In a bowl and eaten with chopsticks

Serving Temperature

Hot

Accompaniment

Bean sprouts, greens, chili sauce, shacha sauce

Occasions

On any occasions

Seasons

Year-round

Special Diets

Gluten-free

Calories

522 calories, according to data of MyFitnessPal for one bowl of bánh canh.

Popularity

Vietnam

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Udon
  2. Cao Lầu
  3. Garak-guksu

Popular Dining Area

Street vendors, restaurants, local households in Vietnam

Bánh canh is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of thick noodles, protein-rich toppings, and herbs in a rich bone broth. It is a famous breakfast dish, street food, and comfort food in the country, especially in the southern and central regions.

Banh Canh Overview

Bánh canh originated in Southern Vietnam in the early 20th century and eventually spread to other regions of the country. Nowadays, many Vietnamese provinces are famous for their interpretation of noodle soup, notably Tay Ninh, Ninh Thuan, Thua Thien Hue, Phu Yen, etc.

Keep on reading to learn more about bánh canh, such as its main ingredients, popular variations, and the advantages and disadvantages of eating it. I will also provide you with answers to common queries about bánh canh and suggest similar dishes.

Key Points

  • Bánh canh is a Vietnamese noodle soup with thick rice-based noodles, broth, herbs, and toppings like pork, seafood, or vegetables.
  • The use of thick, chewy, udon-like noodles distinguishes bánh canh from other Vietnamese noodle dishes.
  • Bánh canh has numerous variations in Southern and Central Vietnam.
  • Bánh canh is a nutritious comfort food suitable for all meals.

Bánh Canh Images

What Is Bánh Canh Made With?

Bánh canh consists of the following 4 kinds of ingredients:

ingredientsDescription
NoodlesThe 3 main noodle varieties for bánh canh are:

Bột gạo: soft, white noodles made exclusively from rice flour.

Bột lọc: chewy, slightly translucent noodles made from rice and tapioca flour.

Bột xắt: thick noodles made from rice flour and having strands of uneven width and thickness.
ToppingsVaries significantly between different versions, such as thickly sliced pork, seafood, poultry, meatballs, fish cakes, etc.
Herb garnishScallions and chervil
BrothMain ingredients: pork knuckles or trotters, tapioca flour (as a thickening agent), various Vietnamese condiments (such as fish sauce)

Options ingredients: seafood, poultry, mushrooms, or vegetables (especially daikon)

In addition, some recipes may feature add-ons like pig blood curd and fried shallots. You have learned about the main ingredients of bánh canh, so let’s check out the many variations of this Vietnamese noodle soup.

What Are Popular Bánh Canh Variations?

There are 15 famous bánh canh variations in Vietnam as shown below:

Banh Canh Ca Loc

Especially popular in the provinces of Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien Hue

Banh Canh Ghe

Often features whole flower crabs
Popular in coastal provinces
Usually has a spicy flavor

Banh Canh He

Specialty of Phu Yen province
Has a green color derived from sliced chive leaves

Banh Canh Tom

Can have various add-ons, such as mushrooms, quail eggs, carrots, daikons, etc.

Banh Canh Nuoc Cot Dua

Has a white, creamy coconut-based broth
Can be made with seafood

Banh Canh Cha Ca

Specialty of Nha Trang city

Banh Canh Vit

Version of bánh canh made with duck meat

Banh Canh Chay

Vegan version of bánh canh

Banh Canh Bot Xat

Has sliced noodles of uneven sizes
Can be made with various toppings

Banh Canh Trang Bang

Specialty of Trang Bang town
Paired with bánh tráng phơi sương (dew-wetted rice paper) and a dipping sauce based on fish sauce
Garnished with chervil and fried shallots
Served in two bowls: one for the noodles and broth and one for the meat and herbs

Banh Canh Nam Pho

Specialty of Nam Pho village
Features elaborately made noodles served in a thick broth
Flavored with mắm ruốc (fermented shrimp paste)
The meat is pounded and mixed with the noodles

After learning about those bánh canh variations, allow me to introduce you to the pros and cons of consuming this Vietnamese noodle soup.

Pros and Cons of Eating Bánh Canh

Bánh canh has the following strengths and weaknesses.

Pros

  • Complex Flavor Profile: Bánh canh features a rich and flavorful broth typically seasoned with herbs and spices, giving the dish a savory and aromatic taste.
  • Variety of Ingredients: Bánh canh can be made with a wide range of ingredients, allowing for versatility and catering to different tastes.
  • Regional variations: Many regions in Vietnam have their own unique variations of bánh canh.

Cons

  • Caloric content: Bánh canh can be relatively high in calories and fat due to the amount of rich broth and meaty toppings.
  • Unsuitability for vegetarianism: Many traditional versions of bánh canh are meat-based or seafood-based and consequently inappropriate for vegan eaters.
  • Time-consuming dish: Making bánh canh noodles from scratch can take some time, especially for beginners.

Many people find bánh canh to be similar to phở in many aspects, including the upsides and downsides. But the two Vietnamese dishes are highly different from one another; let me show you how.

What Are the Differences Between Bánh Canh and Phở?

Bánh canh stands out from phở in the following 5 aspects: origin, noodle type, broth, toppings, and popular variations.

You know almost everything about bánh canh now, but check out the FAQs section to complete your understanding of this Vietnamese specialty.

Bánh Canh FAQs

Yes, bánh canh is healthy if consumed in moderation. This Vietnamese noodle soup is an excellent source of protein, essential minerals, and good carbs, but it is also high in fat and sodium.

Yes, traditional bánh canh is gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease since its noodles are usually made from rice flour and, in some cases, tapioca flour. But some vendors might add wheat flour to the dough, so you should ask the vendor about the ingredients to ensure no gluten contamination.

Cooking bánh canh noodles takes approximately 10 minutes, but the exact cooking time may vary between noodle varieties.

Yes, it is possible to replace bánh canh noodles with udon noodles since both have the same texture and flavor profile. But be mindful that udon noodles are made from wheat flour, which will make the noodle soup not gluten-free.

Yes, there are several bánh canh noodle varieties that are dyed with natural food ingredients and have various colors, such as orange (mixed with pumpkins) or purple (mixed with purple yams).

Similar Dishes of Bánh Canh

Cao Lau

Cao lầu is a Vietnamese noodle dish unique to Hoi An Ancient Town, consisting of chewy noodles, pork or shrimp, and vegetables.

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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