Banh xeo, a turmeric-flavoured crispy pancake, is a popular street stall dish in Vietnam.
Banh xeo, a turmeric-flavoured crispy pancake, is a popular street stall dish in Vietnam. Kazak97

Vietnamese street food sizzles on Aussie palates

The wonderfully vibrant flavours of Vietnam have become a part of the fabric of Australia since the influx of refugees late last century.

The French influence on Vietnamese cuisine, particularly in bread and pastries, has seen a huge number of hot bread shops open in most suburbs and towns.

One favourite of mine is banh xeo, pronounced, roughly - ban sao.

This turmeric-flavoured crispy pancake is a popular street stall dish. The name translates as "sizzling cake”, I'm guessing because of the sound the batter makes when it hits the hot oil.

One thing is essential when cooking these delicious Asian crepes; the oil must be very hot or the batter will stick to the pan.


Serves 4


2/3 cup banh xeo flour or rice flour

1 tsp ground turmeric

2/3 cup coconut milk

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tbsp hoisin sauce or chilli jam

Nuoc cham or sweet chilli sauce, for dipping

For filling: choose from cooked prawns, pork, chicken or tempeh; lettuce; cucumber; shredded carrot; capsicum; bean shoots; Vietnamese mint; coriander; basil and chilli


Sift flour and turmeric into a bowl. Combine coconut milk and water in a small jug and whisk into the dry ingredients until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

Heat two teaspoons of the oil in a large wok or non-stick frying pan over high heat. Batter should be fairly liquid to allow it to cover the pan; add a little water if necessary. Pour a quarter of the batter into the pan and tilt to cover the base. Cook until pancake is cooked through, about two minutes. Remove to a plate and keep warm; repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil as necessary.

Spread pancakes with hoisin or chilli jam and serve with whatever fillings you prefer.