Bánh xèo

Bánh xèo – Vietnamese Sizzling Pancakes


Bánh xèo – Vietnamese Sizzling Pancakes

Bánh xèo is the best Vietnamese dish. I spent 2018 travelling around Asia and the food of Vietnam – especially this dish – stood out to me with the fresh flavours. The dish comprises of a rice flour, turmeric and spring onion crepe which is cooked until crispy. Inside the crispy pancake you’ll find prawns, pork belly, mung beans and beansprouts. This dish is also amazing in the way it is eaten. Strips of the crispy pancake are stuffed inside lettuce leaves or thin rice paper along with herbs. Dipped into Nuoc Cham, it is the most tasty thing.

What does Bánh xèo mean?

Bánh xèo is actually an onomatopoeia word – the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named. ‘xèo’ translates loosely to sizzling. When you put the batter in the hot pan, the name will become clear with a hissing, sizzling noise. Bánh means cake, so the best translation from Vietnamese to English is ‘Sizzling Cake’

Bánh xèo
Bánh xèo

Where to have Bánh xèo in Vietnam

You can find this dish all over Vietnam and the best ones I tried were in Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An. It really was the best thing I ate whilst travelling Asia, but these two dishes stood out. In Ho Chi Minh City, I ate the dish at Ben Thanh Street Food Market, an amazing street food place in the centre of the city. However, Google is now saying this is permanently closed which is so disappointing – let me know if this is wrong though!

In Hoi An, I ate Bánh xèo in a tiny stall next to the Thu Bon River in Hoi An. I always say that the best food I had in Asia was street food and this proved it yet again. I noticed that region to region, the dish differed a lot. In Ho Chi Minh City, the version was vegan with lots of mung beans and mushrooms, served with nuoc cham. However, in Hoi An, the dish was served with thin rice paper to eat the pancake in, and was served with peanut dipping sauce. If you are interested in seeing what else i ate on my travels around Asia, check out my post, Phuket Travel Guide.

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Other recipes to try:

Korean Fried Chicken (Dakgangjeong, 닭강정)

Prawn Katsu Bao Burgers

Sesame Duck with Hoisin Noodles

Bánh xèo

Bánh xèo – Sizzling Vietnamese Pancakes

This is my all time favourite Vietnamese dish. Crispy coconut flavoured pancakes stuffed with mung beans, prawns, pork belly, spring onions and beansprouts. Served with herbs, lettuce, rice paper and a punchy dressing.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 4 peopl
Calories 550 kcal


For the Bánh xèo Crispy Pancakes

  • 100 g Rice flour
  • 10 g Cornflour
  • 1 tbsp Ground Turmeric
  • 2 Spring Onions Finely sliced
  • 50g Creamed Coconut
  • 400 ml Boiling water
  • 1 tsp MSG (optional)
  • Salt and white pepper

For the Bánh xèo filling

  • 200 g Raw king prawns
  • 1 Pork Belly slice
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 200 g Mung Beans
  • 1 Packet Beansprouts
  • Sunflower oil

For the Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce

  • 60 ml Fish Sauce
  • 60 ml Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 tbsp Chilli flakes
  • 1 clove Garlic Crushed
  • 1 tbsp Sugar

To serve

  • A selection of herbs. Mint & Coriander are good. If you can get it, try Vietnamese coriander or perilla.
  • Lettuce Leaves
  • Thin rice paper (optional)


  • To make the batter, whisk together the rice flour, turmeric and cornflour and season with salt, a teaspoon of MSG (optional) and a pinch of white pepper.
  • Mix together the creamed coconut and 400ml boiling water.
  • Add the dry and wet ingredients together, whisking until smooth, and then stir through the sliced spring onions.
  • To make the dipping sauce, add all the ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine.
  • To cook the mung beans, add them to a pan of salted boiling water and simmer for 20-30 minutes until soft. Set aside.
  • Slice the pork belly as thinly as you can into slivers.
  • Add a little sunflower oil to a frying pan and add the crushed garlic, prawns and pork belly. Fry for 3-5 minutes until the pork belly and the prawns are nicely browned. Set aside
  • Now make the Bánh xèo. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Add a teaspoon of sunflower oil and use kitchen paper to wipe it around the pan, creating a very thin layer.
  • Add about half a ladle of the pancake batter to the hot pan (it should sizzle) and move the batter around the pan to cover the base of the pan. Cook for about a minute. When bubbles appear, carefully flip the pancake and cook for a further 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Add a small handful of mung beans, the prawns, pork and beansprouts to the pancake. Continue to cook until the edges of the pancake are really crisp. If you want to, drizzle a little more sunflower around the edges of the pancake at this stage. Fold the pancake in half to create a half moon and cook for another 30 seconds or so until the pancake is crisp and golden on both sides.
  • Serve the Bánh xèo straight away with herbs, lettuce and rice paper to eat alongside.
  • To eat, slice the Bánh xèo into strips, place the strip inside the lettuce leaf or rice paper and add herbs. Dip into the Nuoc Cham and enjoy!
Keyword asian, pancakes, Prawns, Seafood, Vietnamese


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