Vietnam is widely considered a paradise of street foods with varied collections of street snacks. Despite having been introduced in recent years, Banh trang nuong, which is known as Vietnamese pizza, has become one of the most popular street foods in Vietnam due to its distinctive taste and affordable price.
Originated in Dalat, a beautiful city in the highlands in Vietnam, Banh trang nuong is a delicious grilled rice paper with various toppings. The toppings of Banh trang nuong often vary considerably depending on particular regions of Vietnam. The basic version of this Vietnamese pizza is a rice paper roasted on the charcoal grill's low-medium heat and topped with ground pork, chopped spring onions, and a quail egg mixed with dried shrimp crisps. On the other hand, in Dalat's version, a thicker grilled rice paper is used and topped with cracked chicken egg, butter, cheese, seafood, sausage, and even scallions.
It is quite easy to make Banh trang nuong by yourself in a few minutes. First, the mixture of ground pork, chopped spring onions, and shrimp crisps should be spread evenly over the rice paper. Then, crack one to two quail eggs on the top and swirl it around the rice paper while grilling it over charcoal until the ingredients become properly cooked and have achieved a beautiful brownish golden color. Finally, your crunchy Vietnamese pizza is ready to serve with mayonnaise, chili, or tamarind sauce. You can fold the grilled rice paper in half or use scissors to cut it into pieces. For the best crunchy taste, enjoy it right off of the grill.
When you get in line, waiting for your turn, and watch the whole Banh trang nuong preparation procedure, your stomach may excitingly groan, and you will undoubtedly be attracted to the Vietnamese pizza's tempting smell and attractive color. After the wait, the combination of various texture including the crunch of grilled rice paper, the creamy and soft egg-butter-cheese mixture, the freshness of the onion and the saltiness of dried shrimp and ground pork is sure to give you a satiable appetite.
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is well-known as a heaven of street food, in which Banh trang nuong always stands out for its convenience and exceptional taste. Walking along streets in Ho Chi Minh City, you can easily find many food stalls and vendors selling this kind of snack in the evening when the sun begins to set. There are several versions of Banh trang nuong in Saigon, in which more ingredients are added such as beef jerky, chicken or pâté.
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The varied price for a Vietnamese pizza is between VND 10,000 - 20,000, depending on the location and customization request. You may find that Banh trang nuong sold on the streets nearby schools and colleges is often cheaper than in tourist attractions. Banh trang nuong, therefore, is always a top favorite snack among students in Vietnam. You can easily catch a sight of groups of students sitting on the sidewalk, chatting and enjoying their Vietnamese pizza in the late afternoons after school. Together with other street foods including Xoi (sticky rice) and Goi cuon (Spring rolls), Banh trang nuong or Vietnamese pizza has made up a new unique side of Vietnamese food culture, which can be seen in many young people’s lifestyle.
Explore more about Vietnamese food culture, check out what to expect on your Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Food Tours.
Together with many kinds of street foods, Banh trang nuong or Vietnamese pizza has added to the Vietnamese street food culture another unique taste. It is always fascinating to explore all versions of this grilled rice paper, especially when you travel with a group of friends.
Have you tried this delicious new kind of Vietnamese localized pizza? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.