Banh cuon is a typical Vietnamese meal very famous in Asian districts in Europe. Essentially eaten for breakfast, it is a balanced and fine way to take a fresh start in the morning.
A typically Northern dish, banh cuon is as much appreciated by locals as tourists. It is made of rice-flour crepe stuffed with either pork or shrimps. The making of the sticky and transparent galette may be easy, but it requires patience and time. The previously prepared pastry is laid on a stretched piece of fabric then steamed. Whenever it looks ready, meaning it becomes a solid crepe, the cook then removes it with a bamboo spatula. After having dropped it off on another cloth, he spreads over it a garnish made of black mushrooms, pork, onions, shallot, pepper and some nuoc mam sauce. There is a variation of the banh cuon called banh cuon thanh tri but it doesn’t have any garnish.
Banh cuon is very common on street food stands. The Vietnamese usually eat this dish for breakfast. It is probably the reason why it is difficult to find any in most of the restaurants. Banh cuon is served with salad, coriander, fried onions and cha lua (pork mortadella). It also fits very well with the nuoc mam sauce that is more watery than the original one and spiced with tiny pieces of chilli.
“I really like taking my time for breakfast when I eat banh cuon. It is usually prepared by an old man who looks like a Buddhist monk, and served by his smiling wife. So every morning I sit under the rising sun to enjoy this delicious dish surrounded by Vietnamese regular customers.” Maena