BANH CUON (VIETNAMESE STEAMED RICE ROLLS) & THE UNIQUE FLAVOUR


30 Mar 2021

Banh cuon (you can pronounce: bahn kwon) 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 - What is Vietnamese Banh Cuon? 
  • II - How many types of Banh cuon ?
  • 1 - Thanh Tri steamed rice rolls 
  • 2 - Lang Son egg steamed rice rolls 
  • 3 - Ha Long 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 
  • III - Top-rated Vietnamese banh cuon restaurants
  • 1 - Restaurants in Hanoi
  • 2 - Restaurants in Halong Bay
  • 3 - Restaurants in Danang
  • 4 - Restaurants in Saigon? 
  • 5 - Restaurants in foreign countries
Banh cuon
Source: Inari Production

I - What is Vietnamese Banh Cuon? 

It is mainly made from rice flour. This kind of flour gives 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 and some kinds of herbs such as coriander, mint and basil are indispensable things to accompany this dish. Banh cuon calories is about 590 calories/100 grams with the filling of the meat.

According to some preserved documents, it is a traditional Vietnamese dish and was first made thousands of years ago. 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 Vietnam.

 

Banh cuon calories

Source: Quan Nguyen

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 

- Special cloth that is set over a big pot of water to make the dish or a bamboo basket 

- Bamboo stick to lift the rice layer up

- A steamer specially designed to make Vietnamese steamed rice rolls

- 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 depending on the size of the cookers

- Bamboo stick 

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 - How many 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).

The mixture of the dish is mainly made from 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 Vietnamese rice steamed rolls can be easily found in many restaurants in Hanoi. It is often accompanied with spring rolls, Vietnamese sausages and some kinds of vegetables and herbs. The savory sour dipping sauce is made of fish sauce, warm water, a little sugar, vinegar and minced garlic & chillies.

2 - Lang Son egg steamed rice rolls 

This one is a very different kind of Vietnam Banh cuon 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 pies (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. However, the crust is usually harder and thicker than the different ones. 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 this kind of Banh cuon. 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. Vietnamese Banh cuon Me So usually has lean pork, slices of shiitake mushrooms, fried black fungus with pepper, fish sauce, and salt.

Using 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 rolls.

6 - Thanh Hoa Vietnamese 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 dish 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 

This kind of Vietnamese Banh cuon is 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, added 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 - a 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. 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 this kind of Vietnamese steamed rice rolls, but the recipe of mixing the Dragon fruit 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 - Top-rated Vietnamese banh cuon restaurants

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 are one of 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 Banh cuon Hanoi at some following restaurants:  

The chain restaurants of Gia An

The rolls here are made from rice flour without additives and preservatives. It is eaten with different kinds of vegetables and sauces. The price of a plate of rolls ranges from 1.5 - 3$. The restaurants open from 6am to 9pm. Some Gia An restaurants in Hanoi:

- 25 Thai Phien street, Hai Ba Trung district

- 114A Yet Kieu street, Hai Ba Trung 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. Vietnamese Banh cuon here is served with meat or an egg depending on the interest of diners. The combination of dried onions and fish sauce is also indispensable.

- Price: 15,000 VND to 35,000 VND/plate (0.6 - 1.5$)

- Opening time: 6:30am - 10pm

- 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 closes 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/plate (1.2$)

- 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 Ha Long 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 (1.2 - 1.72$)

- 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 layers of Banh cuon 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 (0.86 - 1.72$)

- Opening hours: 6pm - 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 a 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 (0.86 - 1.5$)

- Opening hours: 5pm - 2am 

- Address: Lane 1 Cao Xanh Street, Ha Long city

3 - Banh cuon restaurants in Danang

Banh cuon restaurant

Source: Inari Production

Tien Hung steamed rice rolls

The rolls here are 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 a combination of sweet and sour taste. 

- Price: from 20,000 VND/plate (0.86$)

- Opening hours: 6am - 9:30pm

- Address: 190 Tran Phu street, Hai Chau district, Danang

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: from 15.000 VND/plate (0.6$) 

- Opening hours: 6:30 - 9:30

- Address: 203 Be Van Dan, Thanh Khe District, Danang

Banh cuon Lang Kenh

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.

- Price: 20,000 - 50,000 VND/plate (0.86 - 2.15$)

- Opening hours: 7am - 10pm

- Address: 33 Phan Dang Luu street, Hoa Khanh Bac ward, Hai Chau district, Danang

4 - Where to enjoy Banh cuon Saigon? 

Tay Ho steamed rice rolls

This 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, Banh cuon Tay Ho is definitely the suitable restaurant.

- Price: 30,000 - 50,000 VND/plate (1.2 - 2.15$)

- Opening hours: 7:00am - 11:00pm daily

- Address: No. 127 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh

Hai Nam steamed rice rolls

This is considered as one of the best Banh cuon in Saigon. When enjoying it , you are 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. 

- Price: from 40,000 VND/plate (1.72$)

- Opening hours: 6:30am - 10pm

- 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, and Bat Buu combo (including all three mentioned types within a plate) are the best-seller here. 

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. 

- Price: 20,000 - 35,000 VND/plate (0.86 - 1.5$)

- Opening hours: 7am - 10pm

- Address: 63B Pham Van Hai Street, Ward 3, Tan Binh District

5 - Vietnam Banh cuon restaurants in foreign countries

Thien Thanh steamed rice rolls

 

Banh cuon Thien Thanh

Thien Thanh restaurant - Source: Lunchinhouston 

Thien Thanh restaurant, opened in 1993, offers 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: 8am - 7pm (close on Tuesday)

We have provided you with very detailed information related to traditional Vietnamese 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 — Quan Nguyen

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