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Banh Beo - Steamed Rice Water Fern Cake


Banh Beo is a popular food which often used in breakfast or as a snack in Vietnam. This Vietnamese dumpling is originated from Hue, which is a romantic city in Central Vietnam and also the origin of many tasty kinds of food as Bun Bo Hue (Beef vermicelli), Com Hen (Baby clam rice), etc.

Ingredients for Making Banh Beo

The ingredients of Banh Beo are quite simple. The main components are rice flour, dried shrimps, scallion oil, crispy pork skin, and sweet fish sauce.

The first step in making Banh Beo is grinding the rice into flour. Then the cold water is poured into the flour slowly, stir the mixture evenly. The mixture is poured into the small cups and steamed. Banh Beo is served with dried shrimps, scallion oil as the toppings and special sweet fish sauce.

banh beo steamed waterfern cake 1

Main Ingredients to make Banh Beo

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Variations of Banh Beo

Because of the differences in cuisine culture, Banh Beo has many versions among different places according to the locals’ interest. Banh Beo in Hue, its birthplace, is traditionally served in the small cups (called Banh Beo Chen) and the topping is dried shrimp.

banh beo steamed waterfern cake 2

The original version of Banh Beo in Hue

Banh Beo Quang Nam (a province in Central Vietnam) is a bit different. The topping of this kind of water fern cake is a special sauce made from ground pork, shrimp, and wood ear mushroom.

banh beo steamed waterfern cake 3

Banh Beo Quang Nam

Banh Beo is more popular in central and southern Vietnam than in the north. Banh Beo Mien Nam (water fern cake in South Vietnam) is another variation of the original one. Banh Beo in the South is usually served on a plate, instead of in the small cups. However, you can still find Banh Beo in small cups in various water fern cake restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City.

The toppings of Banh Beo, in addition to the original, also include steamed mung bean and pickled carrot and beet, Vietnamese sausage, and crispy pork skin. The sweet fish sauce is an inevitable part of this dish. You can dip Banh Beo in the sauce or pour the fish sauce over your plate of Banh Beo. 

banh beo steamed waterfern cake 4

Banh Beo Mien Nam

Some Kinds of Cakes served with Banh Beo

Hue is an ancient capital of Vietnam. Thus, the cuisine in this Central city is extremely superb and distinctive. Hue is also well-known many kinds of cake, including the water fern cake. Besides, there are many other types of cake that are also served with Banh Beo such as Banh Bot Loc (Tapioca Dumpling), Banh It Tran (Savory Sticky Rice Dumpling), Banh Ram It (Fried Sticky Rice Dumpling), Banh Nam (Flat Steamed Rice Dumpling), and even Banh Duc (Coconut Rice Streamed Cake). These cakes often go together and have a similar taste in some ways. 
banh beo steamed waterfern cake 6

Banh It Tran - Savory Sticky Rice Dumpling

banh beo steamed waterfern cake 7

Banh Ram It - Fried Sticky Rice Dumpling

banh beo steamed waterfern cake 8

Banh Nam - Flat Steamed Rice Dumpling

Where to Eat Banh Beo in Ho Chi Minh City

Banh Beo Hue in Ben Thanh Market

Address: the North Gate of Ben Thanh Market, District 1
Price Range: VND 20,000 - VND 25,000 ($0.86 - $1.08)

banh beo steamed waterfern cake 5 1

Banh Beo Hue in Ben Thanh Market

Banh Beo O Trinh

Address: 126 Bui Thi Xuan Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1
Price range: VND 25,000

Banh Beo Thanh Nga

Address: 45C Ky Dong Street, Ward 9, District 3.
Price Range: VND 25,000 - VND 40,000

Banh Beo Hue Ngoc Tram

Address: 419 Su Van Hanh Street, Ward 12, District 10
Price range: VND 27,000 - VND 40,000

Summary of Banh Beo - Steamed Rice Water Fern Cake

Although Banh Beo is just simple and common street food, in the Vietnamese food map it is still considered to be a specialty and has its own attraction. When you are in Vietnam, in addition to a must-try food, Banh Mi, it is highly recommended for you to try a plate of all kinds of cakes as above in order to experience the Vietnamese traditional cakes.

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