Crafting the Perfect Banh Xeo: A Step-by-Step Guide

Crafting the Perfect Banh Xeo: A Step-by-Step Guide


Banh Xeo, a beloved Vietnamese dish, tantalizes the taste buds with its crispy exterior, flavorful fillings, and aromatic herbs. Translating to “sizzling pancake” in English, Banh Xeo is a culinary masterpiece that encapsulates the vibrant flavors and textures of Vietnamese cuisine. In this article, we embark on a culinary journey to discover the origins, ingredients, and culinary delights of Banh Xeo.

Origins and Cultural Significance:

Banh Xeo has its roots in Vietnamese culinary tradition, with origins dating back centuries. While its exact origin is debated, Banh Xeo is believed to have originated in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam, where it was traditionally served as a street food snack or as part of festive gatherings and celebrations. Over time, Banh Xeo has become a popular dish throughout Vietnam and beyond, celebrated for its delicious flavors and versatility.

Ingredients and Preparation:

The key ingredients in Banh Xeo include rice flour, turmeric powder, coconut milk, and water, which are combined to create a thin, crispy batter. The batter is then poured onto a hot skillet or griddle, where it sizzles and crisps up to perfection. Traditionally, Banh Xeo is filled with a savory mixture of ingredients, including shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and  mung beans, although variations may include chicken, mushrooms, or tofu for a vegetarian option. The pancake is folded in half to encase the fillings, creating a deliciously crispy exterior and a soft, flavorful interior.

Serving and Accompaniments:

Banh Xeo is typically served fresh off the skillet, accompanied by a variety of fresh herbs, lettuce leaves, and dipping sauce. Common herbs and vegetables used as accompaniments include mint, cilantro, Thai basil, and lettuce, which add a burst of freshness and texture to each bite. Dipping sauces may vary, but a popular choice is Nuoc Cham, a sweet and tangy sauce made from fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, and chili peppers, which complements the savory flavors of the pancake.

Variations and Regional Differences:

While Banh Xeo is a beloved dish across Vietnam, regional variations may exist, with differences in ingredients, fillings, and serving styles. In southern Vietnam, Banh Xeo is typically larger in size and filled with a generous portion of shrimp, pork, and protogel bean sprouts, while in central and northern regions, the pancake may be smaller and contain different fillings such as minced pork, shrimp, or mushrooms. Additionally, some regions may serve Banh Xeo with different accompaniments or dipping sauces to suit local tastes.


In conclusion, Banh Xeo is a delightful expression of Vietnamese culinary heritage, celebrated for its crispy texture, savory fillings, and aromatic flavors. Whether enjoyed as a street food snack, a casual meal, or as part of a festive gathering, Banh Xeo delights the senses and brings people together through its delicious taste and cultural significance. As a beloved dish that embodies the essence of Vietnamese cuisine, Banh Xeo continues to captivate food lovers around the world with its irresistible flavors and culinary charm.

Banh Xeo: Exploring the Flavors of Vietnam’s Crispy Pancake


To make Banh Xeo, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced pork belly or shrimp (or both)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
  • Spring onions (for garnish)
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Fresh herbs (such as mint, cilantro, and Thai basil)
  • Nuoc Cham dipping sauce (for serving)


Prepare the Batter:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice flour, coconut milk, water, turmeric powder, and salt.

Whisk the ingredients together until you have a smooth batter with a consistency similar to thin pancake batter.

Let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Prepare the Fillings:

While the batter is resting, prepare the fillings for your Banh Xeo.

Thinly slice the pork belly or shrimp, and marinate them with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Slice the onion thinly and wash the bean sprouts thoroughly.

Cook the Pancakes:

Heat a non-stick skillet or crepe pan over medium-high heat and add a little oil to coat the surface.

Pour a ladleful of the batter into the pan and swirl it around to cover the bottom evenly.

Arrange some sliced pork belly or shrimp, onion, and bean sprouts on one half of the pancake.

Cover the pan and let the pancake cook for 2-3 minutes until the edges start to crisp up and lift from the pan.

Fold and Serve:

Once the edges are crispy and golden brown, use a spatula to fold the pancake in half over the filling.

Press down gently to seal the edges and cook for another minute until the filling is heated through.

Carefully transfer the Banh Xeo to a serving plate and repeat the process with the remaining batter and fillings.

Serve and Enjoy:

To serve, cut the Banh Xeo into wedges and garnish with chopped spring onions.

Serve the Banh Xeo with lettuce leaves, fresh herbs, and Nuoc Cham dipping sauce on the side.

To enjoy, place a wedge of Banh Xeo on a lettuce leaf, add some fresh herbs, and roll it up into a neat bundle. Dip in Nuoc Cham sauce and savor the delicious flavors of Vietnam.


With this simple step-by-step guide, you can create the perfect Banh Xeo in your own kitchen and experience the authentic taste of Vietnamese cuisine. Whether enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or main course, Banh Xeo delights the senses with its crispy texture, flavorful fillings, and fragrant herbs. So gather your ingredients, fire up the stove, and embark on a culinary journey to Vietnam with this delectable crispy pancake.

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