Although Hai Phong is not the only place to sell steamed rice crepes (banh cuon), it is of common knowledge among visitors that this dish in Hai Phong has a unique taste.
The Hai Phong hand-rolled steamed rice crepes require very meticulous and scrupulous cooker. The rice crepe flour consisting of finely milling rice-flour a little tapioca starch, water, and salt in appropriate proportion should be liquid so that the rolls are thin and soft The cooker will use a specialized steamer to coat the steamed rice crepes. For each crepe, just coat a thin flour layer, spread it evenly on the coated cloth in a circle shape, then cover the steamer and cook for about 20 seconds. When taking steamed rice crepes, use a long bamboo stick or chopstick, push the edge of steamed rice crepes and put the stick in and slowly lift steamed rice crepes out.
The most popular filling is pork, shiitake, and wood ear mushrooms, which are minced, sautéed with seasoning, which will be rolled inside the crepes. The specialty of this dish is the light dipping sauce made from the broth of pork tail bones simmered for 10 hours seasoned with fish sauce, vinegar, peppers and chill. Diners could alsohave sliced (pure pork meat) or balled Vietnamese ham (minced pork meat). Another feature of Hai Phong steamed rice crepes is that the rice crepes and light dipping sauce are always heated, which creates a special appeal for the dish, especially on cold days.
Hand-rolled steamed rice crepes are popularly sold on nearly all streets of Hai Phong. To enjoy full flavor of steamed rice crepes, tourists should visit Hai Ba Trung and Cat Cut streets with traditional shops such as: Quyen steamed rice crepes, Cat Dai steamed rice crepes, Ba Bay steamed rice crepes... in which a serve for each person costs 30,000 VND oOn average.
The feelings of enjoying a plate of soft, hot, freshly-coated steamed rice crepes, a bowl of fragrant light dipping sauce, dotted with a little crispy, yellow dried shallots, and a plate of fresh green herbs, will create an unforgettable impression about Hai Phong steamed rice crepes.