Image by:

Banh Uot Dien Khanh: A Must-Try in Nha Trang

Nha Trang Province is frequently visited by tourists because of its breathtaking beaches and overall spectacular natural views. But if there’s something that visitors should also try is its local delicacy, particularly the Banh Uot Dien Khanh, steamed thin rice pancakes which are not only exceptionally delicious but also an important part of Vietnamese culture.

Dien Khanh is among Nha Trang’s most famous tourist sites. It is located ten kilometres from the city capital and known for its ancient citadel relics, Thien Loc Pagoda, Trinh Phong Temple and Chua Mountain. It is also where the traditional banh uot can be found, sold in quaint diners along the 1A Highway for more than 50 years. These banh uot shops are generally simple, if not crude, with basic tables and chairs; and an oven specially-made for making the traditions pancakes, but with an inviting ambience and of course the delectable dish to make their customers feel more than welcome and wanting for more.

There are two versions of making banh uot, suburban and downtown, the former being the traditional way and more delicious. In this version, the pancakes contain salted and shredded shrimp and fried onions with dipping sauce made from mam nem, a kind of sauce made from small fish or small shrimp. Traditional recipes use fresh tuna or amberjack, locally called ca bo, for sauce wherein its insides are soaked in salt. It is fermented for three days and then dried in the sun for another three days until it becomes a dense liquid with a distinct smell. Mixing fried onions, garlic, spice and mam ruot also produce a fantastic dipping sauce. Mam nem emits a fishy smell, so it is best to add minced mangoes and small chili to the mix to neutralize the strong odor. The dipping sauce is said to be the soul of the whole dish so it is imperative to create one that is not only tasty but reflective of Vietnamese culture.

The remote villages of Thanh Minh and Phu Loc also make banh uot in their own way, with a sauce made from fermented fresh pony fish. It gives the dish a one-of-a-kind sweet flavor. They also have a soya sauce, made by a mix of minced citronella, tomato, fresh herbs and spice all fried quickly. It has a unique nutty taste which is especially made for vegetarians and served during the first and middle days of the lunar month.

Image by:

Image by:

At a shop near the Ong Bo Bridge on the Nha Trang – Thanh Road, banh uot is offered with an assortment of aromatic flavor dipping sauces of mam ruot and mam nem which diners can choose from.

A banh uot dish costs only VND5,000, which means customers can order more than one. But with rapid urbanization, it may soon disappear. Local residents and tourists then have to make a conscious effort to make it a part of their meal whenever they are are in Nha Trang so that banh uot will continue to satisfy the people’s palates and remain an integral part of Vietnamese tradition and culture.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *