Monday, November 18, 2013

Nha Trang Snack: Banh Khot

As a coastal city with a very long white sand beach, Nha Trang has so many advantages for tourists compared to other seaside cities such as Danang, Hai Phong or Qui Nhon. Unfortunately, Vietnam Airlines has a virtual monopoly on routes to Nha Trang which means it's not cheap to go there for a short vacation. Once you are there, however, it's very affordable. The city has excellent street food dishes alongside its famed seafood options.

Banh Can - Nha Trang

Most street food vendors in Nha Trang are specialising in dishes and snacks related to seafood. An example of this is banh khot (grilled pancake). Most people from the south make this cake but they usually make it plain or with eggs. In Nha Trang, it is made with squid, shrimps and eggs as well. They serve banh khot with two sauces, mam nem and a special nuoc mam. Mam nem (fermented fish residue) has a powerful smell but great flavor which is the best for banh khot, and nuoc mam (plain fish sauce) is also a great option. Other ingredients in both sauces can include mango, pineapple, sugar, garlic, water and Nha Trang Sim chili. Nha Trang Sim chili is very famous in Vietnam because it's not very big, has a very hot taste and fragrant aroma.

Banh Can - Nha Trang

When making banh khot, the batter is poured into lightly oiled griller cups over a coal brazier.  Once the batter starts to bubble, the squid or shrimp or egg (or all three!) is added on the top, taking a few minutes to cook through. To make this cake sounds very easy but it requires a lot of preparation, especially cleaning up the seafood, make the dipping sauces and the fuel up to the coal braziers. Banh khot is a popular street food snack in Nha Trang, with most people eating it as a late afternoon snack or after dinner for supper. It's actually quite filling and heavy if you have about 8 or 10 of them with egg.

In Nha Trang, the best vendors are along Le Thanh Ton Street and at the beginning of 2/4 street, opposite the Cham Towers on the way out of town.