Bánh Cuốn

Bánh cuốn is a Vietnamese dish hailing from the northern region and consisting of various savory ingredients rolled in thin rice noodle sheets.

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

Fact: Bánh cuốn, one of Vietnam’s national dishes, dates back nearly one thousand years.

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Basic Information

Bánh Cuốn: Basic Information

Pronunciation

[ɓǎjŋ̟ kǔən] or /bahn koon/

Alternative Name(s)

Bánh xuân, bánh xuân thái, bánh ướt (for the unfilled version)

Dish Type

Rolls, rice dishes, snacks

Course

Non-course dish

Mealtime

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Origin and Region

Bánh Cuốn: Origin and Region

Origin

Vietnam

Continent’s Region

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

Northern Vietnam

Associated Region

Unspecified
Vietnam Map
A Deep Dive

Popular Bánh Cuốn Variations

Ingredients and Preparation

Bánh Cuốn: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Rice flour, pork, shrimp, and wood ear mushrooms

Main Cooking Method

Steaming

Preparation Process

Preparing the rice batter, preparing the filling, steaming the rice rolls, rolling the rice noodle sheet around the filling.
A Deep Dive

Bánh Cuốn: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

Traditional dish with widespread popularity in Vietnam

Taste

Savory

Texture

Soft, delicate rice sheet, tender and chewy fillings

Aroma

Mild

Color

White, translucent rice roll with different colors from the fillings

Serving Style

Eaten with a spoon or chopsticks

Serving Temperature

Warm or at room temperature

Accompaniment

Dipping sauces, chả lụa (boiled pork sausage), fried shallots or onions, fragrant herbs, and vegetables.

Occasions

On any occasions

Seasons

Year-round

Special Diets

Gluten-free

Calories

107 calories, according to data of MyFitnessPal for one roll of bánh cuốn

Popularity

Vietnam

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Gỏi Cuốn
  2. Phở Cuốn
  3. Bánh Gật Gù
  4. Rice Noodle Roll

Popular Dining Area

Local households, restaurants, street vendors

Bánh cuốn, literally “rolled cake,” is a traditional Vietnamese dish in the form of a thin, wide sheet made from rice flour (rice roll). It is cooked by steaming on a cloth stretched over boiling water.

Banh Cuon Infographic

A bánh cuốn sheet is rolled around a filling of various savory ingredients, but unfilled bánh cuốn (called bánh ướt) is also popular.

There are many suitable ingredients to make the filling of bánh cuốn. The most common option is a seasoned mix of ground shrimp, ground pork, and minced wood ear mushrooms.

Locals usually serve bánh cuốn with dipping sauces, chả lụa (boiled pork sausage), fried shallots or onions, fragrant herbs, and vegetables.

The most popular dipping sauce is usually a sweet and sour sauce made from Vietnamese fish sauce, garlic, chili peppers, and lime juice.

Bánh cuốn dates back to the Ly dynasty (1009–1225) and was mentioned as an offering for the Cold Food Festival.

Back then, bánh cuốn was also known as bánh xuân or bánh xuân thái. Today, this Vietnamese dish is a common dish, snack, and street food for all meals of the day.

Continue reading for more information about bánh cuốn, such as its numerous varieties, advantages, and disadvantages. I will also cover commonly asked questions and suggest similar dishes.

Key Points

  • Bánh cuốn is a Vietnamese dish made by rolling thin rice noodle sheets around savory ingredients.
  • Unfilled bánh cuốn also exists.
  • Locals usually serve bánh cuốn with chả lụa (boiled pork sausage), dipping sauces, and fresh vegetables.
  • Bánh cuốn has been around for almost one thousand years.
  • Bánh cuốn is a light and healthy dish popular with Vietnamese people in all regions.

Bánh Cuốn Images

What Are Popular Variations of Bánh Cuốn?

Below are the 13 most popular types of bánh cuốn in Vietnam.

Banh Cuon Thanh Tri

Style of bánh cuốn in Thanh Tri ward, Hanoi
Among the most famous bánh cuốn varieties in Vietnam
Features paper-thin rice rolls
Has no filling
Served with a special sauce and coriander, chả lụa, chả quế (cinnamon pork pâté), roasted peanuts

Banh Cuon Ha Noi

Style of bánh cuốn in Hanoi
Features rice rolls with a very smooth texture
Served with shrimp paste, chả lụa, fragrant herbs, and Vietnamese dipping sauce

Banh Cuon Lang Son

Style of bánh cuốn in Lang Son province, Northern Vietnam
Filled with eggs and braised pork shredded into thin strands
Usually enjoyed with pork broth
Served by dipping the rice rolls in the pork broth

Banh Cuon Cao Bang

Style of bánh cuốn in Cao Bang province, Northern Vietnam
Filled with eggs
Usually enjoyed with pork broth flavored with pickled bamboo shoots and mắc mật (a local plant known scientifically as Clausena indica)
Served by dipping the rice rolls in the pork broth

Banh Cuon Hai Phong

Style of bánh cuốn in Hai Phong city, Northern Vietnam
Features rice rolls with a more pronounced aroma and a more pliable texture
Served with a sauce made from pork bone broth

Banh Cuon Hai Duong

Style of bánh cuốn in Hai Duong province, Northern Vietnam
Features very thin rice rolls
Can come with or without fillings
Eaten with hands
Served with a sauce made from local fish sauce, pork bone broth, black pepper, chili peppers, vinegar, and kumquat juice
Enjoyed with chả quế and shallots fried in pork fat

Banh Cuon Lang Kenh

Style of bánh cuốn in Kenh village, Nam Dinh province, Northern Vietnam
Features rice rolls with a very smooth texture made from local rice
Has no filling
Enjoyed with chả quế and a specifically prepared dipping sauce

Banh Cuon Phu Ly

Style of bánh cuốn in Phu Ly city, Ha Nam province, Northern Vietnam
Features thicker and harder rice rolls than other bánh cuốn varieties
Has no fillings
Typically served with grilled pork

Banh Cuon Me So

Style of bánh cuốn in Me So ward, Hung Yen province, Northern Vietnam
Features highly supple rice rolls made from local rice
Includes less fatty ingredients than other bánh cuốn varieties
Eaten with hands

Banh Muot Nghe An

Style of bánh cuốn in Nghe An province, Central Vietnam
Also known as bánh mướt
Has no fillings
Served with water mimosa salad or stews made from offal, eels, beef, poultry, etc.

Banh Uot Dien Khanh

Style of bánh cuốn in Dien Khanh district, Khanh Hoa province, Central Vietnam
More simple than other bán cuốn varieties in terms of ingredients
Has no fillings
Usually served hot

Banh Cuon Sai Gon

Style of bánh cuốn in Ho Chi Minh City
Features a sweeter dipping sauce than other bánh cuốn varieties
Can be served with lettuce, bean sprouts, spring rolls, shrimp cakes, etc.

Banh Cuon Ngot

Style of bánh cuốn in the Mekong Delta, Southern Vietnam
Sweet type of bánh cuốn for desserts
Can have various colors
Features coconut milk in the rice batter
Filled with sweet ingredients like mung beans, taro, shredded coconut, etc.
Garnished with sesame seeds

After giving you a tour of different bánh cuốn variations, I will guide you to the strengths and weaknesses of bánh cuốn.

Pros and Cons of Eating Bánh Cuốn

Bánh cuốn comes with the following positive and negative attributes.

Pros

  • Diverse Flavor Profile: The mild taste of the rice rolls in bánh cuốn is the blank canvas for various savory fillings, dipping sauces, and accompaniments to shine, creating a diverse flavor experience.
  • Light and Healthy Nature: Bánh cuốn is a healthier option compared to other street foods since it is steamed, not fried, and often ensures a good balance of carbs, protein, and vegetables.
  • Cultural Experience: Bánh cuốn is a gateway to traditional Vietnamese cuisine and a popular dish to try in the country.
  • Versatility: You can customize bánh cuốn with various fillings and serve it for breakfast, lunch, or light dinner.

Cons

  • Skill Demand: Bánh cuốn can be a little challenging to pull off, especially the process of steaming the rice batter to create thin sheets.
  • Short Shelf Life: Filled bánh cuốn is best enjoyed fresh and doesn’t store well since it can lose its texture and flavor over time.
  • Dietary Restrictions: Traditional bánh cuốn isn’t suitable for vegans, vegetarians, or people abstaining from pork, though there are versions catering to their preferences.

At this point, you may find bánh cuốn similar to cheung fun (Chinese noodle rice roll). These two dishes have many things in common but display many differences at the same time.

Bánh Cuốn vs Cheung Fun: What Are the Differences?

Bánh cuốn stands out from cheung fun (rice noodle rolls) in these 5 aspects: origin, batter ingredients, filling ingredients, texture, and accompaniments.

Now that you know about how bánh cuốn is different from its similar dish in Chinese cuisine, explore other interesting facts about bánh cuốn in the FAQs section.

Bánh Cuốn FAQs

Yes, bánh cuốn is a wholesome dish with a balanced mix of carbs, protein, and fiber. However, you can improve this Vietnamese dish by cooking with lean cuts of meat for the filling and using low-sodium fish sauce for the dipping sauce to cut down on the content of fat and sodium, respectively.

Yes, bánh cuốn is an inherently gluten-free dish and is safe for people with celiac disease. However, you should ask the vendor before ordering your serving to ensure that they don’t add extra ingredients with gluten to the mix.

You can find a bánh cuốn steamer at Asian supermarkets and stores or order one from online retailers, such as Amazon.

If you can’t finish your bánh cuốn serving, place it in an airtight container and put it in the fridge. Refrigeration can keep bánh cuốn for 2 – 3 days, while freezing can extend its shelf life by 2 – 3 months. Unfilled bánh cuốn is better at retaining its quality during storage than the filled version.

Similar Dishes of Bánh Cuốn

Goi Cuon

Gỏi cuốn is a Vietnamese fresh spring roll filled with pork, shrimp, herbs, rice vermicelli, and wrapped in rice paper.

Pho Cuon

Phở cuốn is a Vietnamese rolled dish from Hanoi consisting of phở noodles, beef, and vegetables.

Banh Gat Gu

Bánh gật gù is a Vietnamese dish from Quang Ninh province, consisting of unfilled rice rolls served with dipping sauce and braised pork.

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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