Vietnamese bánh xèo basically translates into pancake, however, it does not look like a normal pancake that you would see at an IHOP. Bánh xèo is basically the Asian version of an American pancake that has its own unique flavors and characteristics. Bánh xèo cost between 60,000VND – 90,000VND+ ($2.57USD – $3.85USD+) more than a bowl of phó or bánh mì in Vietnam, but it is well worth the price. If I had to choose one Vietnamese dish to eat, it will always be bánh xèo.
Since bánh xèo is an Asian pancake, it is usually eaten for breakfast, but it can be eaten for lunch and/or dinner as well. This is what I love about Vietnamese cuisine, I can eat bánh xèo for dinner and eat phó for breakfast if I wanted to. Vietnamese cuisine is not too strict on when I can eat something.
The color of bánh xèo is yellow and golden brown. The texture is crispy if you eat once it comes off of the frying pan. Bánh xèo may not look as much on the outside, but the inside is what makes it have its unique flavors. The common ingredients that goes inside of bánh xèo are bean sprouts, shrimp, and chicken or pork. The taste of bánh xèo is hard to describe as there are a lot of flavors going on. The best sauce that goes with bánh xèo is of course, fish sauce. Just like American pancakes with maple syrup, bánh xèo and fish sauce complement each other.
Another unique thing about bánh xèo is that Vietnamese people eat it wrapped in lettuce. When I was in Vietnam, my host showed me the proper way of eating bánh xèo; it was truly a unique experience. Back at home, I would always eat bánh xèo with a fork and no lettuce wrap. But now whenever I get a chance, I always eat bánh xèo with a lettuce wrap regardless of how greasy it can get.