Each country in Southeast Asia has some delicious version of small rice pancakes. These bite-size cakes represent a blank canvas to create a myriad of snacks upon. A slight variation, such as small grilled shrimp with chili sauce, or minced pickled veggies make excellent choices. Be creative and make up your own version.
These Vietnamese steamed rice flour discs have little flavor of their own. The dish’s flavor comes from fried shrimp and crisp pork cracklings, which are sprinkled on top. Piquant lime-chili sauce provides lively contrast. These are mớng, the savory version. The sweet type is known as Bánh bèo ngọt. The steamed cakes can be prepared ahead and kept at room temperature for a few hours, before adding the shrimp topping.
You’ll need 24 dipping-size cups to steam these individual cakes. You may already have some small dipping sauce dishes that will work. If not, go to a restaurant supply store or Asian market to pick up two dozen inexpensive tiny bowls.
Each time I visit the city of Huế, in central Vietnam, I make a pilgrimage is to Quán Bánh Bá Đõ Restaurant for their exceptional bánh bèo. If you visit Vietnam you must go taste them.
© 2008 Robert Danhi. All rights reserved.