Bánh Xèo

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

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

Fact: People in the Mekong Delta usually have bánh xèo on Tết Đoan ngọ, a festival on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar.

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Basic Information

Bánh Xèo: Basic Information

Pronunciation

[ɓǎjŋ̟ sɛ̂w] or
/bahn say-oh/

Alternative Name(s)

Banh chao (in Cambodia)

Dish Type

Pancakes, rice dishes

Course

Non-course dish

Mealtime

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Origin and Region

Bánh Xèo: Origin and Region

Origin

Vietnam

Continent’s Region

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

Nationwide Origin

Associated Region

Unspecified
Vietnam Map
A Deep Dive

Popular Bánh Xèo Variations

Ingredients and Preparation

Bánh Xèo: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Rice flour, turmeric powder, pork, prawns, and bean sprouts

Main Cooking Method

Pan-frying

Preparation Process

Preparing the rice batter, frying the pancakes, assembling bánh xèo.
A Deep Dive

Bánh Xèo: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

Popular dish and street food with Vietnamese people from all walks of life

Taste

Savory

Texture

Crispy pancake with various textures from different ingredients

Aroma

Rich

Color

Golden or off-white pancake with various colors from different ingredients

Serving Style

  1. Eaten by hand or with chopsticks
  2. Rolling the pancake around vegetables and dipping it in the sauce

Serving Temperature

Hot or warm

Accompaniment

  1. Vegetables: mustard greens, Romaine lettuce, lettuce, fíh mint, beefsteak plant, lemon basil, spearmint, young mango leaves, julienne-cut mangoes, etc.
  2. Dipping sauce: Vietnamese dipping sauce, pâté-based sauce, peanut sauce
  3. Others: Rice paper wrappers

Occasions

On any occasions

Seasons

Year-round

Special Diets

Non diet-specific

Calories

315 calories, according to data of Nutritionix for one bánh xèo (8 ounces or 226 grams) with shrimp, pork, mung beans

Popularity

Vietnam, Cambodia

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Khanom Bueang Yuan
  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, restaurants, and households in Vietnam

Bánh xèo, also known as Vietnamese crepes, is a traditional stuffed pancake dish popular throughout Vietnam. It is usually stuffed with pork, prawns, and bean sprouts, but many regional versions may incorporate different ingredients.

Banh Xeo Infographic

Common accompaniments for bánh xèo are fresh vegetables and nước chấm (sweet and sour dipping sauce). Locals usually enjoy bánh xèo whole or folded in half, eating it with their fingers or using chopsticks to pick up the pancake.

Sometimes, the pancake can be rolled around the vegetables and dipped in the sauce. Bánh xèo can be eaten in both ways as a street food or for a full meal.

Bánh xèo is sometimes confused with bánh khoái, which is a Central Vietnamese bánh xèo variant served with a special pâté-based sauce.

Over its long history, bánh xèo has inspired similar pancake dishes in Cambodia and Thailand.

There are many more engaging facts I want to tell you about bánh xèo, such as its origin, main ingredients, and distinctions between bánh xèo in different regions of Vietnam.

I will also delve into the advantages and disadvantages of eating this pancake dish, cover frequently asked questions about it, and suggest similar dishes.

Key Points

  • Bánh xèo is a Vietnamese stuffed pancake popular with people from all regions of Vietnam, especially the Mekong Delta.
  • Despite being a renowned main dish and street food, bánh xèo has an unclear origin.
  • The main ingredients of bánh xèo are rice flour batter, pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and other toppings.
  • Bánh xèo is usually served with Vietnamese dipping sauce and plenty of vegetables.
  • There are notable differences between regional versions of bánh xèo.

Bánh Xèo Images

What Is the Origin of Bánh Xèo?

There are many theories about the origin of bánh xèo. The most popular one says that the Khmer community in Southern Vietnam created it. Another one says that bánh xèo originated in Central Vietnam, whereas many people speculate it is a Vietnamese interpretation of French crepes dating back to colonial times.

Bánh xèo literally means “sizzling pancake” due to the sound created when the batter is added to the hot skillet. Other than the rice batter, there are many other ingredients in this pancake dish.

What Is the Origin of Bánh Xèo?

IngredientsDescription
Rice batterCommon ingredients: Rice flour, water, turmeric powder

Optional ingredients: Coconut milk
ToppingsCommon options: Sliced pork belly, prawns, bean sprouts

Additional options: Seafood (fish, scallops, squids, etc.), mushrooms (straw mushrooms or enoki mushrooms), tofu, mung beans, taro, jicama
Fresh vegetablesCommon options: Mustard greens, Romaine lettuce, lettuce, fíh mint, beefsteak plant, lemon basil, spearmint, cucumbers, etc.

Additional options: Young mango leaves, julienne-cut mangoes, sliced star fruits, elephant ear fig (Ficus auriculata) fruits, etc.
Dipping sauceCommon options: Nước chấm made from Vietnamese fish sauce, garlic, chili peppers, lime juice, julienne-cut carrots (optional)

Additional options: Pâté-based dipping sauce, peanut sauce

The use of distinct ingredients is one of the most significant differences between bánh xèo in Southern, Central, and Northern Vietnam, but there are many other distinctions worth considering.

What Are the Differences Between Bánh Xèo Throughout Vietnam?

Bánh xèo versions from the southern, central, and northern regions of Vietnam stand out from one another in the following 5 aspects: size, main ingredients, color, accompaniments, and popularity.

Regardless of where it comes from, bánh xèo always displays the same advantages and disadvantages. Read on to discover them.

Pros and Cons of Eating Bánh Xèo

Bánh xèo has the following benefits and shortcomings.

Pros

  • Diverse Flavor Profile: Bánh xèo delivers a satisfying taste that mixes the richness of the pancake and savoriness of protein-rich toppings with the refreshing goodness of vegetables and tasty dipping sauce.
  • Versatility: You can add a variety of toppings to bánh xèo to make it suitable for your preferences.
  • Cultural Experience: Bánh xèo is one of the most notable dishes in Vietnamese cuisine.
  • Communal Eating: Vietnamese people usually serve bánh xèo in large gatherings, family meals, or with friends.
  • Nutritional Values: Bánh xèo is an ample source of various nutrients thanks to its content of carbs, protein, and vegetables.

Cons

  • Caloric content: As a fried pancake, bánh xèo is relatively high in calories and fat compared to steamed or boiled Vietnamese dishes.
  • Cooking Technique: Making bánh xèo requires certain skills to get the pancake crispy and golden without burning it, which may be challenging for beginners.
  • Messy Eating: People unfamiliar with bánh xèo can find it messy as this pancake dish may involve wrapping pieces of the pancake in leafy vegetables.
  • Food Allergies: Some people might be allergic to shrimp, a popular ingredient in bánh xèo.

After knowing about these upsides and downsides, why don’t you discover other dimensions of bánh xèo in the FAQs section?

Bánh Xèo FAQs

There are a few reasons why your bánh xèo isn’t crispy enough, usually because the oil isn’t hot enough or too little. In addition, homemade bánh xèo can end up soft and soggy if the cooking time is too short or the rice batter is too thick.

Bánh xèo is a pancake dish with various toppings with widespread popularity throughout Vietnam. By contrast, bánh khọt is a mini pancake mainly enjoyed in Southern Vietnam, with pork and shrimp as the main toppings.

The best type of pan for making bánh xèo is a non-stick wok, but you can also use any type of deep frying pan with a suitable size for making the pancake.

Yes, there are many plant-based bánh xèo recipes that replace animal-derived toppings with ingredients like mushrooms and tofu.

Whether bánh xèo is healthy varies according to how it is prepared and served. Traditional bánh xèo is a fried pancake high in oil, carbs, and energy-rich toppings, but it is also served with plenty of greens and vegetables. Therefore, you should consume it responsibly as a main course.

Similar Dishes of Bánh Xèo

Banh Can

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

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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