THE UNIQUE FLAVOUR OF VIETNAMESE STEAMED RICE ROLLS

Vietnamese cuisine is extremely diverse with plenty of unique specialties that never disappoint visitors. In particular, the Banh Cuon or Vietnamese steamed rice roll which preserves the national spirit of the Vietnamese, is one of the most attractive dishes to international tourists. 

Table Contents
  • I - An overview of Banh Cuon - Vietnamese steamed rice roll
  • 1 - What is it?
  • 2 - Contraption to make 
  • II - Types of Banh Cuon Vietnam
  • 1 - Thanh Tri steamed rice rolls in Hanoi
  • 2 -  Lang Son egg steamed rice rolls 
  • 3 - Ha Long Vietnamese steamed rice rolls 
  • 4 -  Phu Ly steamed rice rolls 
  • 5 - Me So steamed rice rolls 
  • 6 - Thanh Hoa steamed rice rolls 
  • 7 - Vegetarian steamed rice rolls
  • 8 - Thanh Long  steamed rice rolls - new kind of Banh Cuon Vietnam
  • III - Best addresses to enjoy Vietnamese steamed rice rolls
  • 1 - Restaurants in Hanoi
  • 2 - Restaurants in Halong Bay
  • 3 - Restaurants in Danang
  • 4 - Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh city
  • 5 - Banh Cuon Restaurants in foreign countries
Mar 30
Banh cuon
Source: Inari Production

I - An overview of Banh Cuon - Vietnamese steamed rice roll

1 - What is it?

This type of dish has different names depending on different regions. According to some preserved documents, the Vietnamese steamed rice rolls are a traditional Vietnamese dish. Through the passing down through generations, people in each region have made many changes in terms of the taste, the way of enjoying, and the processing of Banh Cuon.
This Vietnamese dish is mainly made from rice flour. This kind of flour will give the cake a soft, thin but still chewy layer. The filling inside the dish is a combination of many different colors, including black of wood ear mushroom, red of fresh ground shrimp/meat, and yellow of fried onion. 
A bowl of sweet and sour dipping fish sauce with some slices of chili is an indispensible thing to accompany this dish.  It is often served with some kinds of herbs such as coriander, mint and basil. Banh Cuon calories about 590 calories/100 grams with the filling concluding meat.

 

Banh cuon calories

Source: Quan Nguyen

2 - Contraption to make 

For a long time, the needed utensils have not changed a lot, but there are certain alterations. According to the traditional way of the ancient Vietnamese people, the utensils should include:
- A stone mill 
- A steamer specially designed to make Vietnamese steamed rice rolls
- Special cloth that is set over a big pot of water to make the dish or a bamboo basket 
- Bamboo stick to lift the cake up
- A cooker, usually Vietnamese coal cooker
As the society becomes more and more modern, the utensils to make the dish also become more convenient:
- Electric cookers 
- Special cloth (for the dish depending on the size of the cookers)
- Bamboo stick to lift the cake up
If you want to make this dish at home, you can use a steamer or frying pan instead of the special steamer, which is also very convenient. The non-glutinous rice flour is also easy to find in bakeries or supermarkets.

II - Types of Banh Cuon Vietnam

1 - Thanh Tri steamed rice rolls in Hanoi

Thanh Tri steamed rice rolls is a feature dish in Hanoi which is famous for its long-standing savory and quality. According to legend, Thanh Tri steamed rolls originated from the 18th Hung King (around 250 B.C.), created by An Quoc - a son of Hung King.
The mixture of the dish is mainly made from the rice flour and water. After the guest’s order, the chef takes a spoonful of batter, then thinly spreads it on the fuming cloth set over the steamer pot. The wooden tick is used to shape a round and thin rice layer and  covered by a lid. 

 

Vietnamese banh cuon

Thanh Tri Vietnamese Banh Cuon - Source: Internet

After one minute, the rice sticky layer is lifted off the steamer and put on a plate. The fillings are filled and the rice cake is wrapped into a roll. A layer of fried onion is added on top of the rice steamed rolls cake before serving with a plate of Vietnamese sausages and some herbs. In the past, the dish was usually placed in a basket on a lotus leaves layer, then it is covered with banana or lotus leaves. 
Today, Thanh Tri rice steamed rolls can be easily found in many restaurants in Hanoi. It is often accompanied with spring rolls, Vietnamese sausages and some kind of vegetables and herbs. The savory sour dipping sauce made of fish sauce, warm water, a little sugar, vinegar and minced garlic & chillies are the best thing to come with this kind of Banh Cuon. 

2 -  Lang Son egg steamed rice rolls 

This one is a very different kind of steamed rice roll that has special features created by the taste of chicken eggs and strands of braised lean pork, the broth simmered from beef bone and combined with bamboo shoots, pepper, and various spices. Many restaurants in Lang Son also use the broth of braised pork to make soup have a bolder taste. 
To enjoy this kind, you pour the broth on the rolls, then carefully put the roll to your mouth to keep the egg yolk “safe” and enjoy the gentle melting of the egg yolk spreading inside your mouth, mixed with the amazing taste of pork and broth.

3 - Ha Long Vietnamese steamed rice rolls 

Ha Long steamed rice roll is a great creation by local people in the coastal area. They cleverly combine the flavors of the ordinary rolls with the fried squid pie (Cha Muc). The rice rolls are spread thinly and smoothly. The filling includes meat, the wood ear mushroom, and shrimp. 
The dish is covered with a layer of dried onion. Squid pies are made by hand and mixed with spices, and then fried. Served with squid rolls are a bowl of fish sauce having Belostoma indica Vitalis oil, black pepper, red pepper, and some kinds of vegetables.

4 -  Phu Ly steamed rice rolls 

Vietnamese Banh cuon in Phu Ly District, Ha Nam Province is one of the most famous types of steamed rolls within the North of Vietnam. It shares many similarities with Thanh Tri one. It also doesn’t have fillings. However, the crust is usually harder and thicker than the different ones. The surface is covered with dried onions. The special feature is the combination of grilled meat, steamed rolls, and sauce. Meat is carefully selected having both lean and fat to ensure softness and taste when eating. The sauce is mixed according to a special recipe ensuring the delicious taste of meat and rolls.

5 - Me So steamed rice rolls 

Compared to Thanh Tri or Phu Ly rolls, the difference of Me So rolls is that the crust  is thicker and whiter but still ensures softness and toughness. Therefore, you are unable to see through the fillings and can only know what the roll consists of when eating it. Banh Cuon Me So usually has lean pork, slices of shiitake mushrooms, fried black fungus with pepper, fish sauce, and salt.
To use your hands is the most proper way to enjoy the dish. You will hold a single roll, have it with fish sauce, and a bit of eye-catching meat. Then you’ll feel the fat, sweetness, and softness lingering on the tip of your tongue. The cake does not stick to your hands because of the fresh and supple crust which is different from the other kinds of roles.

6 - Thanh Hoa steamed rice rolls 

Steamed rice rolls

Source: Kenh14

Thanh Hoa roll impresses diners by its chewy and soft layers. The main ingredient of this dish is rice flour. The filling is also stirred meticulously, including ground lean meat, fresh shrimp, fried onions, and black fungus. 
The soul of this kind of Banh Cuon must be Tinh Gia fish sauce - a delicious sauce in Vietnam. The sauce is completely made by hand, without preservatives, and then add a little lemon juice, peppers, and slices of chilies.

7 - Vegetarian steamed rice rolls

The vegetarian rice rolls are the perfect combination between the fragrant plasticity of the crust made from non-glutinous rice and the frugal fillings of carrots, and mushrooms. 
A big difference between vegetarian rice rolls and other types is the sauce. It is made from Cu Da soy sauce, add a little sugar and crushed chilies to create a strong aroma. If you cannot eat soy sauce, you can replace it with vegetarian fish sauce which is also very delicious.

8 - Thanh Long  steamed rice rolls - new kind of Banh Cuon Vietnam

Launched with the purpose of supporting Vietnamese agricultural products in difficult periods, Thanh Long rice rolls are very popular among many diners, made from Dragon Fruits. Like normal rolls, this kind is made from rice flour, but it is mixed with the color of dragon fruit juice to create an eye-catching pink-purple color for the crust. 
From reading, you may find it is quite simple to make the roll, but the recipe of mixing the juice and flour must be highly accurate so that the crust will not be torn or broken. The filling also includes lean ground meat, black fungus. On the top, people add a layer of yellow dried onion. After steaming, the roll will become quite chewy, smooth, and tasty. 

III - Best addresses to enjoy Vietnamese steamed rice rolls

1 - Restaurants in Hanoi

Hanoi has been famous for its old and diverse cuisine culture, which is especially attractive to international tourists. The steamed rice rolls is one of the dishes standing in the must-try dishes when arriving in the capital of Vietnam.

 

Vietnamese steamed rice rolls

Gia An restaurant - Source: Fb Banhcuongiaan

From morning until late night, you can find Vietnamese Banh cuon at some following restaurants:  
The chain restaurants of Gia An
Gia An steamed rice rolls have a chain of restaurants spreading within Hanoi. The cake is made from rice flour without additives and preservatives. It will be eaten with different kinds of vegetables and sauces. The price of a plate of rolls ranges from 35,000 to 70,000 VND. The restaurants open from 6:00 to 21:00. Visitors can book a table in advance via number 19006445. Some addresses of Gia An:
- 25 Thai Phien Street, Hai Ba Trung District
- 114A Yet Kieu Street, Hai Ba Trung District
- 61 Huynh Thuc Khang Street, Dong Da District
- 108A6 Tran Huy Lieu Street, Ba Dinh District
- 20 Bat Dan Street, Hoan Kiem District
Thuy Khue steamed rice rolls
This is a famous restaurant that has existed for a long time. Thuy Khue steamed rolls are thinly coated. Banh Cuon here is served with meat or an egg depending on the needs and interest of diners. The combination of dried onions and fish sauce is also indispensable.
- Price: from 15,000 VND to 35,000 VND/plate
- Opening time: 6:30 - 10:00
- Address: Lane 29, Thuy Khue Street, Tay Ho District.
Ton Duc Thang steamed rice roll or Co Lan steamed rice rolls
This is a 30-year-old restaurant. It opens at 10p.m and is closed at 4a.m. The rice rolls are also coated into small pieces and then add meat as filling. Therefore, the time of steaming is also longer. However, the final product is extremely great. Each plate of Banh cuon Vietnam here looks very delicious, and is served with tasty spring rolls. The sauce is prepared depending on how much you eat, how spicy, and how sour the customers want.
- Price: from 30,000 VND/ ration.
- Address: Lane 109 Ton Duc Thang Street, Dong Da district. You can park your motorbikes for free within the alley, but lane 109 is quite small, so it is not recommended to ride a motorbike to the restaurants.

2 - Restaurants in Halong Bay

If you are traveling to Halong Bay and want to enjoy the typical steamed rice rolls with squid pies, we will provide some must-try addresses as follows:
Goc Cay Bang steamed rice rolls
This is a 30-year Banh Cuon restaurant famous for the most delicious squid pie steamed rice rolls in Ha Long. The delicious rice rolls combined with the crispy squid pies bring an amazing feeling. The uniquely  sour & spicy dipping sauce of this restaurant is the soul of the dish. .
- Price: 30,000 - 40,000 VND/ plate
- Opening hours: 7:00am - 3:00pm
- Address: 189 Lane 1, Nha Hat Street, Bach Dang Ward, Ha Long City
Ba Hue steamed rice rolls
The rolls layer here are coated with a thin, chewy crust. The normal fillings contain minced pork and black fungus. At the restaurant, there are many types of rolls for you to choose such as steamed rice rolls with grilled meat, squid pies steamed rice rolls, special spring steamed rice rolls, and especially egg steamed rice rolls.
- Price: 20,000 - 40,000 VND/ plate
- Opening hours: 18pm - 1am 
- Address: 46 Cao Xanh Street, Tran Hung Dao Ward, Ha Long City
Ba Ty Vietnamese steamed rice rolls
Having a history of more than 20 years, the restaurant is a favorite place of many people in Ha Long. The rice rolls here have traditional flavor with a soft and thin crust, filled with minced meat, crunchy fried  onions, and minced black fungus. The sauce is also mixed according to the esoteric recipe, creating an unforgettable taste.
- Price: 20,000 - 35,000 VND/plate
- Opening hours: 5pm - 2am the next morning
- Address: Lane 1 Cao Xanh Street, Ha Long city

3 - Restaurants in Danang

Banh cuon restaurant

Source: Inari Production

Tien Hung steamed rice rolls
This Banh Cuon restaurant in Danang has a long history. The roll is soft, chewy, and it doesn’t have filling. The top of rolls are covered with a thick layer of dried onions and ham, served with papaya and carrot salad. The sauce is the combination of sweet and sour taste. The price of a small plate is 20,000 VND and a larger one is 25,000 VND. If you want to enjoy the dish with spring rolls, you will pay an extra amount of 20,000 VND.
- Opening hours: 6:00am - 9:30pm
- Address: 190 Tran Phu Street, Hai Chau District, Da Nang city.
203 steamed rice rolls
The rolls here are served while they are hot and have the aroma of rice flour. Unlike other places, the roll of 203 restaurant is served with a soft grilled meat, marinated according to the special recipe of 203 restaurant. Dried onions in this Banh Cuon restaurant are crisp and have a beautiful color. 
- Price: 15.000 VND/plate
- Opening hours: 6:30 - 9:30
- Address: 203 Be Van Dan, Thanh Khe District
Lang Kenh village, Nam Dinh steamed rice rolls
The restaurant is famous for its white, thin, and smooth crust of rolls. While dipping the roll into the sauce, diners will feel the aroma of rice, mushrooms, black fungus at the same time. Everyone who has eaten at the restaurant wants to come back to enjoy the dish once more.
- Price: 20,000 - 50,000 VND/plate
- Opening hours: 7:00am - 10:00pm
- Address: 33 Phan Dang Luu Street, Hoa Khanh Bac Ward, Hai Chau District

4 - Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh city

Tay Ho steamed rice rolls
Banh Cuon Tay Ho restaurant is very popular among people living in Ho Chi Minh city. With more than 50 years of tradition, Tay Ho steamed rice rolls still retain the original and unique flavor. Each plate includes 4 rolls neatly arranged. They are covered by a lot of dried onions and herbs. The side dishes will include some kind of spring rolls. The sauce here is also very special because people use a few drops of Belostoma indica Vitalis oil to make a strong flavor. If you love the taste of the traditional steamed rice rolls, this is definitely the suitable restaurant.
- Price: 30,000 - 50,000 VND/plate
- Opening hours: 7:00am - 11:00pm daily
- Address: No. 127 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh
Hai Nam steamed rice rolls
Hai Nam steamed rice roll from the outside is quite similar to other kinds of Banh cuon Vietnam. However, when enjoying, diners will be completely surprised by the very unique taste of the rolls. The famous crust is thin and supple with the fillings containing cassava and shrimp, and meat. The side dishes are served with delicious kinds of spring rolls, and shrimps, depending on the needs of different people. Because of this special feature, although the restaurant is not large, it still attracts a huge number of diners every day.
- Price: 40,000 - 88,000 VND/plate
- Opening hours: 6:30 - 22:00 daily
- Address: 11A Cao Thang Street, Ward 2, District 3, Ho Chi Minh city
Dinh Rau steamed rice rolls
There are 3 different types of Vietnamese Banh Cuon in this restaurant, which are traditional steamed rice rolls, egg rolls, and brown rice rolls. In particular, Bat Buu steamed rice rolls (including all three mentioned types within a plate) are the best-seller dish of the restaurant. 
The traditional rice roll is made from smooth and white rice flour. Egg rolls are thin, light, and taste good. Brown rice rolls have a chewy crust, and the typical aroma of brown rice, which are suitable for dieters. The filling is also made of minced pork and black fungus. 
- Reference price: 20,000 - 35,000 VND/plate
- Opening hours: 7:00am - 10:00pm
- Address: 63B Pham Van Hai Street, Ward 3, Tan Binh District

5 - Banh Cuon Restaurants in foreign countries

Thien Thanh steamed rice rolls

 

Banh cuon Thien Thanh

Thien Thanh restaurant - Source: Lunchinhouston 

Opened in 1993, Thien Thanh restaurant has received huge love by both Vietnamese and locals. Steamed rice rolls here are divided into many different types including: Thanh Tri steamed rice rolls, meat steamed rice rolls, shrimp steamed rice rolls, grilled meat steamed rice rolls, and so on. 
Most of the rolls still retain the Vietnamese original flavor. But the decoration has changed. The biggest difference between rice rolls in Thien Thanh and the traditional ones is that the crust is quite oily because people use the pan to make the cake instead of steamer. 
- Price: $ 6.75 - $ 7.25 /plate
- Address: 11210 Bellaire, 140Houston, TX 77072
- Opening hours: 8:00am - 7:00pm (from Wednesday to Monday every week, close on Tuesday)
We have provided you with the very detailed information related to traditional Banh Cuon or Vietnamese steamed rice rolls. If you have a chance to visit Vietnam, don’t forget to enjoy this typical traditional food.

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Hi, my name is Quan, and you can call me “Kun”. Having a big passion for travel, I spent 6 months traveling to most of the regions & provinces in Vietnam. I find Vietnam's landscapes are so beautiful, Vietnamese people are so friendly.

— Quan Nguyen

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