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Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Banh khoai – Hue’s rustic delicacy

By Hoang Kim

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Amidst the rich tapestry of culinary delights in Hue City, banh khoai stands out as a rustic delicacy that has captured the hearts of countless food enthusiasts with its distinctive flavors and texture.

Banh khoai, a cherished delicacy originating in the ancient capital of Hue, boasts a unique blend of flavors and textures that tantalize the taste buds of food enthusiasts far and wide.

Crafted from a mixture of rice flour, tapioca flour, and water seasoned with salt and monosodium glutamate, the dough forms a thick, smooth base crucial for achieving the desired crispiness of the crust.

For the savory filling, a medley of fresh shrimp, sliced pork belly, Vietnamese pork paste, mushrooms, green onions, and bean sprouts are marinated with spices and quickly stir-fried. Some variations even include chives, boiled quail eggs, and Vietnamese steamed pork roll to enhance the diversity of flavors. These ingredients are marinated with spices and quickly stir-fried before being added to the cake.

Prepared on a small cast iron pan, about 15 centimeters in width and two to three centimeters in height, the banh khoai is cooked to perfection, with each scoop of dough and filling creating layers of flavor and texture. Topped with bean sprouts, egg yolk, and folded in half, the cake is cooked until crispy on both sides, ensuring a satisfying crunch with every bite.

Served alongside fresh herbs and vegetables such as lettuce, mustard greens, fishwort, thinly sliced unripe banana, and fig, the banh khoai is accompanied by a dipping sauce made from a rich blend of ingredients including pork liver, minced pork, onions, roasted sesame, peanuts, and bean sauce. Simmered to perfection, the sauce adds a depth of flavor that complements the crispy crust and flavorful filling, creating an unforgettable dining experience.

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