Sunday, January 07, 2007

Banh Cuon, Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh

The original Ben Thanh market which was located on the shores of Ben Nghe river was destroyed quite some time ago back in 1859. But fret not because the "new" Ben Thanh market is still rather old after being relocated and rebuilt in 1899! This market sells everything, from food to clothes to raw materials, spices etc but if you have to try only one food stall here (which of course you won't!), it has to be this banh cuon stall which has been passed down from the women of the family over the generations.

There are many many varieties of Vietnamese rice paper rolls and springrolls. Banh cuon is best described as a warm and soft rice flour roll filled with minced pork, mushrooms and black fungus. The skins are made fresh here as very thin layers from a rice flour mixture.

As with most Vietnamese dishes, banh cuon is eaten with a sweet and tangy fish sauce. Wouldn't that be boring you think? All the dishes with fish sauce? There are more than 100 varieties of fish sauce in Vietnamese cuisine and they taste really quite different and unique from each other.

In addition to the fish sauce it's also eaten with cha lua (Vietnamese pork sausage/ham as seen on top the banh cuon), nem (fermented raw pork sausages), cucumber slices and bean sprouts. Indeed my trip had gotten off to a good start.

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1 comment:

Andrew said...

wowee, drool drool drool... I am heading up to HCM for the first after CNY I will sure check the food out !