Bánh Khoái

Bánh khoái is a Vietnamese pancake dish originating in Central Vietnam, especially in Thua Thien Hue Province.

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
  • Street Food
  • Traditional
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Fact: Bánh khoái is a renowned variant of bánh xèo in Central Vietnam.

Basic Information

Bánh Khoái: Basic Information

Pronunciation

/bahn kwai/

Alternative Name(s)

No

Dish Type

Pancakes, rice dishes

Course

Non-course dish

Mealtime

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Popular Variations

  1. Bánh Khoái (classic version with pork and shrimp toppings)
  2. Bánh Khoái Cá Kình (with white-spotted spinefoot toppings)
Origin and Region

Bánh Khoái: Origin and Region

Origin

Vietnam

Continent’s Region

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

Central Vietnam

Associated Region

Thua Thien Hue
Vietnam Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Bánh Khoái: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Rice flour, pork, shrimp, eggs, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and pork liver

Main Cooking Method

Pan-frying

Preparation Process

Making the batter, preparing the topping and the pâté-based sauce, cooking the pancake, serving the pancake.
A Deep Dive

Bánh Khoái: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

Popular street food in the cuisine of Thua Thien Hue and Central Vietnam

Taste

Savory

Texture

Crispy

Aroma

Rich

Color

Golden brown

Serving Style

Eaten with hands or with chopsticks

Serving Temperature

Hot

Accompaniment

  1. Fresh vegetables: cucumbers, lettuce, Thai basil, sliced star fruits, etc.
  2. Pickled carrots or daikon
  3. Pâté-based dipping sauce made from pork liver

Occasions

On any occasions

Seasons

Year-round

Special Diets

Gluten-free

Calories

Unspecified

Popularity

Central Vietnam

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Bánh Xèo
  2. Bánh Căn
  3. Bánh Khọt
  4. Appam
  5. Bindae-Tteok
  6. Okonomiyaki
  7. Crêpe
  8. Taco
  9. Jianbing
  10. Roti Canai
  11. Buchimgae

Popular Dining Area

Street vendors and restaurants

Bánh khoái is a traditional Vietnamese pancake dish originating in Thua Thien Hue Province in the central region.

Banh Khoai Infographic

It is a variant of the famous bánh xèo (Vietnamese crepes) and features many similar ingredients as well as accompaniments. Still, bánh khoái is smaller, thicker, and has many distinct traits.

The origin of the name “bánh khoái” is unclear. The most popular theory says that it was a corruption of “bánh khói” (“smoke pancake”) since bánh khoái was originally cooked in a traditional wood stove that could smoke up if loaded with wet wood.

Another explanation is that “khoái” came from “khoái khẩu,” which means “appetizing” in Vietnamese.

Bánh khoái is usually folded in half and served with a viscous pâté-based sauce (known locally as “nước lèo”), pickles, and various vegetables, creating a renowned street food.

Read on to discover other wonderful facts about this pancake dish, such as upsides, downsides, and common concerns. I will also cover the bánh khoái’s differences from bánh xèo and recommend similar dishes.

Key Points

  • Bánh khoái is a famous pancake dish in Central Vietnam, especially in Thua Thien Hue Province.
  • The main ingredients of bánh khoái are rice flour, pork, shrimp, mushrooms, and bean sprouts.
  • Locals usually serve bánh khoái with fresh vegetables and a thick sauce made from pork liver.
  • The name “bánh khoái” might be derived from the Vietnamese word for “smoke” or “appetizing.”
  • Bánh khoái is a variant of bánh xèo, but it demonstrates many notable differences.

Bánh Khoái Images

How Is Bánh Khoái Prepared?

The preparation of bánh khoái requires the following 5 steps.

StepsInstructions
Making the batterMixing rice flour with tapioca starch, water, and turmeric powder (optional)
Preparing the toppingsShaping minced lean pork into meatballs and frying

Slicing pork belly and stir-frying with shrimp

Stir-frying straw mushrooms

Preparing bean sprouts
Preparing the pâté-based sauceStir-frying minced pork liver with garlic and chili peppers

Adding in water and various ingredients, such as sesame seeds, pounded peanuts, shrimp paste, fermented soybeans, etc.

Pureeing the mixture until smooth (optional)
Cooking the pancakeHeating oil in a skillet

Adding the batter and toppings and cooking for a few minutes

Spreading a thin layer of scrambled eggs evenly over bánh khoái and continuing cooking until the pancake is golden

Repeating this step until the ingredients run out
Serving the pancakesFolding bánh khoái in half and serving with the pâté-based sauce and vegetables

While making bánh khoái sounds a little complex, this pancake dish has many advantages that make it special.

Pros and Cons of Eating Bánh Khoái

Bánh khoái has the following benefits and drawbacks.

Pros

  • Flavor profile: Bánh khoái has a mix of various savory ingredients that create a diverse flavor profile, such as shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and pâté-based sauce.
  • Cultural experience: Bánh khoái is a notable specialty of the central region of Vietnam, particularly in Thua Thien Hue.
  • Nutrition: Since bánh khoái incorporates various types of protein and vegetables, it can be a balanced meal with sufficient nutrients.

Cons

  • Caloric content: Fried bánh khoái is relatively high in calories and fat, so people seeking to cut down on their calorie intake shouldn’t consume it too much.
  • Required skill: Making bánh khoái involves some complicated steps in cooking the pancakes, so preparing this dish at home can be a challenge.
  • Availability: Bánh khoái can be a difficult dish to find outside of Vietnam.

After discovering the advantages and disadvantages of bánh khoái, do you want to explore the distinctions between bánh khoái and its cousin, bánh xèo?

Bánh Khoái vs. Bánh Xèo: What Are the Differences?

Bánh khoái stands out from bánh xèo in the following 5 aspects: diameter, thickness, batter, toppings, and sauce.

Besides these differences, what else can you learn about this pancake dish? Read on to find out!

Bánh Khoái FAQs

Yes, traditional bánh khoái is a gluten-free dish since it only uses rice flour in the batter. However, you should inquire with the vendor about the ingredients to ensure no gluten contamination.

Yes, there are a few bánh khoái recipes using exclusively plant-based ingredients, such as mushrooms, tofu, tomatoes, mung beans, and a soy sauce-based dipping sauce.

Yes, bánh khoái is available in many Central Vietnamese provinces beyond Thua Thien Hue, including Thanh Hoa and Quang Tri. Many big cities in Vietnam also have restaurants offering this pancake dish, such as Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.

Similar Dishes of Bánh Khoái

Banh Xeo

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

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 Can

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