Guidebook Enjoy the knack of the Vietnamese snack

Foodie must-do list

Enjoy the knack of the Vietnamese snack

“The streets of Vietnam are paved with snacks,” says Neil Simpson in Suitcase magazine, and here’s his list of the 17 street food snacks “you have to try.” The country is full of snacks and nibbles “to fill any yawning gaps,” reports Suitcase magazine. Especially good “snacking grounds” are markets, it says, “with stalls churning out soups and spring rolls or selling intriguing banana-leaf parcels of pate (a favourite accompaniment for bia hoi), pickled pork sausage or perhaps a cake of sticky rice.”

Banh xeo is “Vietnam’s onomatopoeic sizzling crepe,” says Quyen Ngo in Eater. “The name comes from the sound the batter makes when it is poured into the wok: xeo xeo xeo.” It’s savory and light, made of rice flour and coconut milk and colored with turmeric powder, and can be shared as an appetizer or enjoyed as a main course. “The crepe is typically stuffed with pork, shrimp, mung beans, and bean sprouts. Pieces of the banh xeo crepe should be enjoyed generously wrapped up in lettuce with herbs and dipped into fish sauce. A great banh xeo is judged for its crunch factor, balance of fillings, quality of fish sauce, and an aroma that does not have an overwhelming coconut scent.”

When it’s time to kick back with a beer, says Christina Liao in Vogue, make sure you order a plate of stir-fried baby clams called hen xuc banh trang. “Crunchy sesame rice crackers act as both your vessel and utensil, making this a great finger food with a contrast in both textures and flavors.” Then, for anyone who enjoys “the sticky and chewy textures of mochi,” there’s banh beo -- “miniature discs have dimples in the center that are filled with ingredients such as dried baby shrimp, scallions, and fried shallots … top them off with fish sauce and you’ve got yourself a satisfying snack.” And banh bao -- “large steamed buns frequently sold by street vendors are filled with minced meat, a quail egg, Chinese sausage, and vegetables” -- are great for breakfast or on the move.

Foodie must-do list
  • Guidebook