Vietnam's steamed rolled pancakes is among the top dishes in the world, says Australia's top travel magazine

Image from Vietnam News/ANN

HANOI, Feb 12 (Vietnam News/ANN): Banh cuon (steamed rolled pancakes) has been named one of the top dishes from around the world by Australian daily online Traveller.

According to Traveller, banh cuon is a simple dish and less popular with international tourists compared to pho (noodle soup) and bun cha (vermicelli with grilled pork and fresh herbs). However, making the dish requires a lot of skill.

“There's a certain magic to how these big sheets of steamed rice noodles are made before they're wrapped around savoury fillings and served with herbs and sauce,” it says.

The famous US magazine, Travel and Leisure, also recommended that banh cuon is one among three must-try dishes on a food tour in Vietnam, besides pho and banh mi.

Nine other dishes were also named on the list are grilled turbot of Spain, Oklahoma smash burger from the United States, mole negro from Mexico, short eats from Sri Lanka, sushi from Japan, ragu napoletano from Italy, sarawak laksa from Malaysia, duck sausage sanga from Australia, and tahdig from Iran.

Banh cuon impressed diners with its special cooking style and the harmony of flavours from its ingredients. The dish can be found across Vietnam, but each region has variations in ingredients, cooking methods and tastes.

The most famed variation is said to be found in banh cuon’s cradle, Thanh Tri, an ancient suburb of Hanoi.

Thanh Tri rolled pancakes are paper thin and look almost transparent. Minced pork and wood ear mushrooms are rolled in the rice sheet, and the whole dish is served with dipping sauce.

The sauce served with the rolled pancake is similar to that in bun cha (noodles served with grilled pork) – fish sauce with sugar, water (to lessen the saltiness), chilli and vinegar. They could also be eaten with cha que (orange-hued, roasted cinnamon sausage) or cha lua (Vietnamese classic silky sausages) to boost their taste.

Unlike Hanoi’s version, Phu Ly steamed rolled rice pancakes in Ha Nam province have no stuffing. This type of banh cuun is eaten cold with charcoal-grilled meat instead of roasted cinnamon pork.

The meat must be both lean and fatty to be soft, fragrant, and not too dry. The pancakes are dipped in diluted fish sauce and served with various herbs.

In the northern provinces of Cao Bang and Lang Son, rolled pancakes are eaten with pork bone broth instead of fish sauce like in Hanoi. While spreading the wet batter over the steaming basket, cooks would add an egg and then cover the cooked egg with a rice sheet. Diners could add some fermented bamboo shoots and chilli to fortify their broth.

In central provinces like Nghe An and Ha Tinh, banh cuon is also known as banh muot. Here, the steamed Vietnamese rolls often contain only rice batter, without any pork or mushroom.

In Nghe An, locals often serve banh muot with eel soup, another local delicacy, while in Ha Tinh, the dish is eaten with ram, the local version of spring rolls. To enjoy this dish, diners wrap the crispy spring roll with the rice pancake and dip it into fish sauce. - Vietnam News/ANN

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