Crispy pancake, the tase of Hue

Crispy pancake, or “khoái” cake, is a delightful specialty of Hue. The crispy pancake is pretty much similar to rice pancakes (bánh xèo), but is half the size and more superb in crispness and flavorful ingredients. 
April 20, 2020 | 13:06
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crispy pancake the tase of hue
Crispy pancake has long been the pride of Hue people (Photo: Vietnam Record Association)

Hue people have long been famous for being meticulous and sophisticated in eating. One must closely see the way they evenly pour the dough into the pan, turn the cake upside down, patiently wait for the cake turn crispy, to admire locals people put hearts and souls into their traditional dish.

The name “khoái cake” stems from an old tale narrating that in the past, it got all smoky when the cooks made crispy pancakes as rainy weather made all the wood stove wet. Thus, it was originally called “bánh khói”, with khói means smokes in Vietnamese, but was then renamed to bánh khoái in accordance with Hue people’s accent.

The secret to make a delicious crispy pancake lies in the dough, dipping sauce and how cooking fire is moderately lighted, according to Vietnam Record Association.

crispy pancake the tase of hue
Khoai cake is one of the must-try dishes in Hue (Photo: Vietnam Record Association)
crispy pancake the tase of hue
(Photo: Dan Tri)
crispy pancake the tase of hue
(Photo: Vietnam Record Association)

Crispy pancake is made from selected rice, which is then finely ground and mixed with the right ratio of water. To enhance the flavor and color of the pancake, the cooks will add chicken eggs and sprinkles of salt into the mixture. Eggs also give the pancake a higher nutritional value.

Its fillings is pretty much the same as rice pancakes, including pork, shrimps, char siu, bean sprouts, etc.

Crispy pancake is cooked right after each order. The cook will first heat the 15-cm-diameter pan with oil, then quickly scoop one mold of prepared mixture. Around five minutes after adding fillings, the pancakes are done and can be hotly served.

crispy pancake the tase of hue
The cooking pan is pretty small (Photo: Vietnam Record Association)

The dipping sauce for crispy pancakes in Hue tastes different from the one made in southern Vietnam. It is a brown-yellow thick mixture of soy sauce, pork liver, minced lean pork, ground peanuts. Lettuce, herbs, together with julienned unripe bananas, mangos, star-fruits, are rolled together with the pancakes inside a rice paper, making the crispy pancakes eating an unforgettable experience for every diner.

Just like a unique culinary painting of Hue, crispy pancake upholds the special taste of central Vietnam, clearly shows Hue’s people eating style and culinary philosophy – a dish full of flavors and colors of life.

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