Making Banh Cuon in Can Tho, Vietnam

For you food wonks, here’s a video of banh cuon. After all the interest in the rice paper video, I thought it’d be fun to show a totally different set-up. Here, two guys are working together in a very closely synchronized switch-off. Watch how they pass off the bamboo stick!


Banh cuon is a popular dish for breakfast in Vietnam, and all the best places will sell out by 8:00 am. The dish is related to banh trang, or rice paper, but it’s spread a little thicker and served as a fresh noodle. Some restaurants will grind glutinous rice in with their batter to add body and bite, or perhaps use tapioca or potato starch. Of course, the exact ratio will be a closely guarded secret.

Since the rounds are served as fresh noodles, these guys don’t use the wide, hollow rollers of women who make banh trang (rice paper) that must be lifted and then arranged perfectly flat. Here, he’s dropping the thin, flexible bamboo “spatula” into a container of water to help keep it from sticking to the rice sheet.

Among the many different versions available, pork and mushroom filling is the most common. At this restaurant, just down the street from the market in Can Tho, an important city in the Mekong Delta, the banh cuon are topped with house-cured pork sausage and the typical fresh herbs and nuoc cham of South Vietnam.

Related: Banh Cuon & Banh Beo: Vietnamese Steamed Rice Treats

Author: Thy Tran

San Francisco-based writer specializing in history and culture of food.

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