When you think crepe, a sweet, fancy, delictable dessert probably comes to mind. But when I think a crepe? I crave banh xeo. What is banh xeo, you may ask? It’s a crunchy yellow exterior (made of some sort of special flour and mungbeans, I think) that elopes over the place and is filled with savory meats and seafood, along with an enormous amount of beansprouts. Personally, I find beansprouts truly disgusting. They’re just crunchy lines of water, with no flavor what so ever. The only time I would ever eat them would be in banh xeo.
Before I forget, which I did so I had to return back and write this one paragraph, I also tried banh kok. They’re like tiny pillow of crunchy batter, with a sweet pungent taste of coconut milk. It is then topped with a shrimp and some dried shrimp powder. I love this dish, but this wasn’t the best one I’ve had. Decent at best. It also seemed to have caved in. I’ve eaten some with more batter on top, which means more taste and more crunch. However, it was good and an okay purchase.
I pretty much summed up my experience with banh xeo. I found this tiny store in a plaza corner, but never actually went there. I eventually caved in, and I was delightfully surprised. The restaurant is real tiny, but the service and attention to the food is well met. They also have specialty drinks, which I will try next time. The banh xeo they gave me was filled with pork, shrimp, and squid. To be honest, the shell of the crepe is what makes it. Just greasy enough with a lot of crunch provides a delicious Vietnamese crepe. The meat was good too, but was overshadowed by the abundant amount of beansprouts. The vegetables that came in it was filled to the brim in a basket. Each lettuce, mint, basil leaf and so on was as fresh as can be and was more than enough to go with the meal.
Now before I rate this banh xeo (I’ve been saying banh xeo a lot, but you probably don’t know how to say it. And it’s hard to explain, so just ask a Vietnamese eprson or something), you’re probably wondering. How do I eat this thing? Well, my dear reader, you can’t simply eat it with a fork. Chopsticks are recommended, but even then, you wouldn’t just pick at it. The proper way is to wrap it in lettuce leaf (or any other big leaves they give you) along with mint and basil and other herbacious goodies and eat it like an spring roll. Vietnamese cuisine is big on leafy vegetables and wrapping things up, and banh xeo combines both concepts. The crunch of the crepe, along with the watery yuck of beansprouts, goes along with the savory taste of the meats, all forwarded with the taste of fresh vegetables. You dip that in some fish sauce and you’re all set! Just rinse and repeat.
I haven’t had banh xeo in awhile, and this one hit the spot. It can get quite messy though, but that’s probably because I’m a pretty messy eater. I give this lunch 4/5 kupos. It can be quite difficult to find a banh xeo restaurant out there, and I’m blessed with living in a town filled with Vietnamese food. If you ever do find it and give it a try, don’t forget the correct way to eat it! That’ll impress everyone. And that’s a wrap! Or should I say, a crepe?