So what is Banh Xeo?

In Vietnamese, "banh" means pancake, while "xeo" means sizzling. Banh Xeo is a savory, crispy pancake known for its sizzling sound ("xeo") when the batter hits the hot pan. Banh Xeo has two different layers:
  • Outside: made from a batter of rice flour, water, and a pinch of turmeric to give it its distinctive coloring.
  • Inside: commonly filled with thinly sliced pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and mung beans.
Banh Xeo can be eaten on its own or wrapped in a rice paper roll packed with various fresh veggies and dipped in a mixed fish sauce. A few tourists commented that Banh Xeo resembles a "salad roll" with messy fillings, yet it tastes fantastic. Some enjoy the exotic veggies, while others adore the mixed fish sauce taste - even though it can be a little smelly!  If you're searching for the best banh xeo in Saigon, you'll be delighted by the diverse variations available throughout the city. Each version offers a unique and wonderful culinary experience, so be sure to try banh xeo wherever your travels take you to Vietnam.

How different Banh Xeo pancake is due to different regions in Vietnam?

best banh xeo in saigon
Vietnamese crepe that varies in flavor and appearance depending on its origin | Source: Collections
As a whole, it has the same name everywhere as Banh Xeo, but when divided into regions, each region has its own version. And, due to regional variances, the local's culinary style and palate, each one differs from the other. Banh Xeo has a wide range of recipes and flavors, depending on where it is made.
The South of Vietnam, especially in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta area, is known to make the biggest version of Banh Xeo in Vietnam. Banh Xeo is fried in a large cast-iron pan, and as a result, it is usually as big as 20cm, with a beautiful golden color. The secret to achieving the golden color is to mix a little turmeric powder with the rice flour before cooking. Besides the egg, locals usually add coconut milk to the rice flour to give the Banh Xeo a light fragrance and subtle sweetness. When you order Banh Xeo, a basket of vegetables, which we usually call the "mini garden", will also be provided, some of which you may be familiar with, while others might be unfamiliar. Nonetheless, all these vegetables have great benefits for your health. 
In the Central region, Banh Xeo is cooked in clay molds to make a smaller-sized pancake. Unlike the southern version, the Banh Xeo ingredients are slightly different. For one, the central version doesn't have turmeric powder in the flour mixture - only eggs. As a result, the amount of egg yolk used determines whether Banh Xeo is more white or yellow. Moreover, locals in various Central regions typically wrap Banh Xeo in moist rice paper in addition to veggies. So with this version, you get double layers of rice paper, with veggies and then the Banh Xeo inside. You can taste a whole mix of textures with the crunchy Banh Xeo, fresh veggies. It is the perfect combination!

Here are some places frequently recommended for the best Banh Xeo in Saigon

The best non-vegan Banh Xeo in Saigon

There is no doubt that Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam's most diverse city, attracting people from all around the country. Thanks to that, the locals who arrived here from around the country contributed their own culture, blending into a single new distinct culture. As a result, Ho Chi Minh City is the only place where you can sample all of the different types of Banh Xeo. To experience the best banh xeo in Saigon, here are some of the top spots you should try:

Banh Xeo 46A

banh xeo 46A is best banh xeo district 1
Discover the best Banh Xeo in District 1 at Banh Xeo 46A, conveniently located for a delicious and authentic Vietnamese dining experience.  | Source: Collections
Address: 46A Dinh Cong Trang Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM; 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Banh Xeo 46A is not only famous for being one of the longest-trading traditional Banh Xeo restaurants, but is also best-known for its traditional tasting Banh Xeo. 

Banh Xeo Mien Tay Thanh Phuong

Mien Tay Thanh Phuong frequently recommended for the best Banh Xeo in ho chi minh city
Experience the authentic flavors of the Mekong Delta at Mien Tay Thanh Phuong  | Source: Collections
Address: 31/4-6 Hoang Hoa Tham Street, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 7:00 AM - 10:30 PM 
This restaurant specializes in the Mekong Delta version, the big and beautiful yellow Banh Xeo stuffed with many different ingredients and flavored fresh vegetables. 

Banh Xeo Ba Hai

banh xeo ba hai in ho chi minh city
Experience the taste of nature at Banh Xeo Ba Hai, where wild-grown vegetables complement the traditional banh xeo recipe.  | Source: Collections
Address: 119 Le Van Linh Street, Ward 13, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 10:00 AM - 7:30 PM 
Banh Xeo Ba Hai stands out from other eateries. The restaurant serves raw veggies harvested from forests, as opposed to the common veggies from other restaurants.

Banh Xeo Ngoc Son

banh xeo ngoc son the best non-vegan banh xeo in saigon
Indulge in giant, crispy Banh Xeo at Ngoc Son, a local favorite nestled in the heart of Chinatown | Source: Collections
Address: 103 Ngo Quyen Street, Ward 11, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM 
Banh Xeo Ngoc Son is located in Chinatown, and is well-known among locals for its great taste and large Banh Xeo. The restaurant is spacious with plenty of seats, but if you go in a big group, make sure to book in advance.

Discovering the ultimate vegan Banh Xeo in Ho Chi Minh

Saigon's culinary scene is a blend of traditional and modern flavors, with a particular emphasis on the iconic dish of Banh Xeo. This savory pancake is a symbol of Vietnamese gastronomy, and discerning food enthusiasts are now seeking a vegan version of this classic dish. Given the city's rich culinary heritage, a few eateries have mastered the art of the vegan Banh Xeo, infusing it with plant-based ingredients while preserving its authenticity. Here are some of the restaurants that serve the best banh xeo in Ho Chi Minh, including delicious vegan options that are sure to satisfy your cravings:

Chay Amitaba

discovering the ultimate vegan banh xeo in ho chi minh
Savor the authentic flavors of southern Vietnam with Amitaba's traditional vegan Banh Xeo | Source: Collections
Address: 40 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Cau Ong Lanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 6:30 AM - 2:00 PM; 4:00 PM - 9:30 PM 
While this restaurant doesn't specialize in just one specific vegan dish, their Banh Xeo is still worth a try. With 3 different vegan Banh Xeo options, including the original southern version, one with coconut core filling, and one with sesban flower filling. 

Bong Sung Vegetarian Restaurant

banh xeo bong sung vegetarian restaurant
The vegan Banh Xeo here is one of the most ordered dishes among around 100 dishes on offer | Source: Collections
Address: 4 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Street, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 7:30 AM - 10:00 PM 
The vegan Banh Xeo here is one of the most ordered dishes among around 100 dishes on offer. They also offer vegan Banh Khot - a different variant of Banh Xeo which is smaller, more chewy, and looks like a bowl. Definitely worth a try. 

Ngoc Tho Vegetarian Restaurant

banh xeo ngoc tho vegetarian restaurant in ho chi minh
A flavorful blend of tofu, mushrooms, and bean sprouts in a traditional Vietnamese crepe | Source: Collections
Address: 175/9 Pham Ngu Lao Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 9:00 AM - 11:00 PM 
Ngoc Tho is a long-standing vegetarian restaurant that serves delicious vegetarian Banh Xeo. Their version is known for its crispy texture and flavorful combination of tofu, mushrooms, and bean sprouts. Besides the local vegan options, they also offer some international vegan choices. 
If eating only vegan Banh Xeo doesn't satisfy your curiosity and appetite for exploring vegan Vietnamese cuisines, why not schedule a vegan food tour with us? Our one-of-a-kind Vegan Food Tour can be customized to your interests while riding a pillion on a motorbike. Our guides will accompany you throughout the journey to help explain not only the cuisine, but also many fascinating elements of our customs and culture. 
Besides the unique and delicious banh xeo, Vietnam is renowned for two other culinary treasures that you simply must experience during your one day in Ho Chi Minh City. First, as your local KissTour guide, I wouldn't let you leave without indulging in the rich, aromatic bliss of Vietnamese coffee at one of our favorite local cafes. And to truly complete your culinary journey, you have to slurp down a bowl of the best pho in the country – and we know just the spots! Trust me, these are flavors that'll stay with you long after you've left this vibrant city.
But your one day in Ho Chi Minh City doesn't stop at food! Join me on an unforgettable journey through the city's vibrant streets, where we'll uncover hidden gems, learn about local customs, and immerse ourselves in the sights, sounds, and tastes of this captivating metropolis. We'll explore bustling markets like Ben Thanh Market, visit historic landmarks such as the Notre Dame Cathedral. This one-day adventure will leave you with a newfound love for Saigon and its unique charm.

How to eat Banh Xeo?

When tourists see Banh Xeo for the first time, it can be confusing because it comes partially constructed with a range of side dishes, and they are unsure how to enjoy it. Eating Banh Xeo, a Vietnamese savory pancake, can be a fun and interactive experience, so here are some steps on how to best enjoy it:

What You'll Get

  • Banh Xeo: A crispy yellow pancake 
  • Mini garden: Fresh herbs and vegetables like mint, basil, perilla, lettuce and more.
  • Rice Paper (Optional): Some places provide thin rice paper for an extra layer of wrapping.
  • Dipping sauce: Made of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, chili, and garlic, providing a tangy-sweet balance to the Banh Xeo.

How to wrap Banh Xeo

  • If you try the southern version, first break the Banh Xeo apart into suitable-sized pieces.
  • Take a piece of lettuce as your base. If you use rice paper as your base, use a little bit of water to wet the surface, so it softens the rice paper for easy wrapping.
  • Add your preferred herb combination. While mint and basil are the classics, try to experience different varied herb combinations!
  • Put Banh Xeo on top of the vegetables and herbs.
  • Roll the lettuce or rice paper into a tight parcel, encapsulating the Banh Xeo and herbs.
  • Dip your roll into the dipping sauce for the perfect blend of flavors.
  • Take a bite and savor the crispy pancake, fresh herbs, and flavorful sauce. 
  • Repeat the process until the delicious Banh Xeo is all gone!

Some advice for you to discover the best Banh Xeo in Saigon

  • Ask the Locals: When visiting Ho Chi Minh City, ask locals for suggestions on where to find the best banh xeo in Ho Chi Minh. They may give significant insights and direct you to hidden gems that may not be well-known to tourists.
  • Try Different Fillings: Banh Xeo can be prepared with a variety of fillings. While the original version has shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts, vegan options include tofu, mushrooms, and a variety of veggies. Some restaurants will offer squid, beef, or even chicken, so try experimenting with different fillings to find your ideal combo.
  • Fresh Herbs and Dipping Sauce: Banh Xeo is typically served with an array of fresh herbs, such as mint, basil, and lettuce leaves. Besides the basic herbs, some restaurants will give out different vegetables, such as mango leaves, perilla, or fish mint. Take advantage of these aromatic herbs to add freshness and enhance the flavors of each bite. 
  • Enjoy the Texture: One of Banh Xeo's distinctive characteristics is its crunchy texture. Take delight in the sound and sensation of biting into a delicate pancake with a thin, crispy crust. Banh Xeo's appeal stems in part from the contrast between the crunchy crust and the soft, savory fillings.

Explore more delicious dishes in Ho Chi Minh through local guides

While indulging in the best banh xeo in Saigon is a delicious start, the city's culinary scene offers a plethora of other mouthwatering dishes to explore. Saigon has a wide range of alternatives to please any cuisine expert, but if you're not sure where to start, join us on our Saigon Food Tour. Let our knowledgeable guides lead the way as they uncover hidden gems and give insider tips on where to discover the best eateries in the city. Uncover the city's culinary secrets, learn about the cultural importance of each dish, and enjoy the various tastes that make Saigon a foodie's paradise. So, grab your appetite and join us on a guided culinary trip to discover all of Saigon's delicacies while whizzing through the streets on the back of a motorcycle!
Author: Vy

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