I have yet traveled to Vietnam but I am a big fan of Vietnamese food, thanks to the Little Saigon in Orange County—the largest Vietnamese enclave outside of Vietnam and the place I shop, eat, and have cheap massages! Last weekend, my friend Chef Danhi invited me to join his Little Saigon tour. Towards to the end of the tour, he did a cooking demo of banh xeo (pronounced as banh say-oh), or Vietnamese coconut crepes with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts, a recipe that I have been wanting to learn. I volunteered to help him make a serving of banh xeo.
The next day, I went to the market and got all the ingredients and practiced further at home. While banh xeo is not that hard to make, getting the perfect shape without breaking the crepe is a skill I surely need to work on, or perhaps, I will have to acquire the pan flipping skill that would flip the banh xeo and land it on the pan instead of the kitchen floor.
According to Chef Danhi, banh xeo is a southern Vietnam recipe. Xeo means “sizzling” so it’s also known as sizzling Saigon crepes. I used vegetable oil to make my banh xeo, but traditionally, it’s made with lard. To eat, just wrap it with a lettuce leaf and herbs (Thai basil, Perilla herb, mint leaves) and then dip in nuoc cham, the ubiquitous Vietnamese dipping sauce made of fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar.