Bánh Khọt

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March 27, 2008
Cuisine: Vietnamese

59B Cao Thang Street
District 3, Ho Chi Minh City

Phone: 8323312
Website: none

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Bánh khọt thập cẩm – miniature fried pancakes sampler platter (30,000 VND)

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Cơm gà rôti – rotisserie chicken with fried rice (35,000 VND)

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Gởi mục Thái Lan - Thailand-style squid salad (70,000 VND)

The Astronomer and I finally made our way to Co Ba Vung Tau the other week to try the bánh khọt Wandering Chopsticks raved about. Bánh khọt are a specialty of the southern coastal city of Vung Tau and taste quite a bit like banh xeo due to their similar batters and accouterments.

Co Ba Vung Tau offers four different varieties of bánh khọt—shrimp, pork, oyster and cha ca (fish loaf). Since this was our first time trying the dish, we hedged our bets and ordered a sampler platter that included a few of each kind. To round out our meal, I went for a squid salad, while The Astronomer went for some chicken with rice.

The bánh khọt were delivered along with a large basket of herbs and greens. After our waitress poured some nuoc mam from a giant pitcher (pictured above) into our individual bowls, we proceeded to eat the bánh khọt just as Graham of Noodlepie advised:

Take a leaf (lettuce or mustard) and sling in a couple of herbs and pickles along with the bánh khọt itself. Make a small parcel and dip into the plain nuoc mam. Depending on the size of your gob and/or how much of a fat bastard you are, each green parcel should take around three bites to fully consume. It’s green ‘n’ lean and airyfairy enough that one diner could stuff in all eight cakes with ease.

Bánh khọt are simultaneously “airyfairy” and crispy. The Astronomer and I each ate four and could have easily downed twice as many if we hadn’t ordered the other dishes. We both liked the oyster bánh khọt best because of its intense flavor. Unlike the shrimp, pork and fish cake bánh khọt, the oyster variety could hold up against the nuoc mam and shrubbery. The texture of bánh khọt is really something special.

Although we came for the bánh khọt, the dish that really stood out was the squid salad. The pieces of squid were plentiful, fresh as can be and unbelievably tender. Ever since we indulged in the finest squid in the world during our trip to Phu Quoc last November, we’ve become quite the squid snobs. The squid salad at Co Ba Vung Tau magically transported us back to the sunny shores of Phu Quoc.

The Astronomer’s rotisserie chicken with rice was also well-executed. The buttery fried rice contained bits of scallions and eggs and tasted indulgent compared to the plain jasmine The Astronomer has grown accustomed to. The chicken was moist, crispy skinned and dressed in a five-spice marinade.

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9 Responses to “Bánh Khọt”


  • I tried Co Ba about 3-4 years ago and have never come back. The Banh Khot there was horrible, especially when compared with the real deal in Vung Tau.

  • Mmmmm…bánh khọt…

    Mum’s specialty and my favourite! (another one)

    As a toddler, I remember this carload of people pulling up as she was shutting shop for the day. They said they came all the way from Saigon to try her bánh khọt! They weren’t disappointed.

    Mum was from Bà Rịa.

  • I don’t remember seeing pork or oyster toppings last time I ate there, just shrimp. I prefer plain banh khot.
    There’s another version of banh khot, minus the coconut milk and the oil. It’s from the Central and called bánh căn. There’s a good place in Su Van Hanh st, District 10, I don’t know the exact address but it’s an eatery named Bún cá Chợ Đầm.

  • RR – I hope to try the real deal in Vung Tau in the near future. Any particular place I should visit?

    N – Thanks so much for the eatery tip! I will add it to my “To Eat List” and I look forward to trying a new type of banh khot.

    John – Wow! Is there any chance she’s still open for business? DO share her secret recipe ;-)

    WC – You make me wanna be a gardener. And maybe a quilter too!

  • Looks delicious! So have you left Philadelphia for good?

  • This is the best Banh Khot in Vung Tau:
    Gốc Vú Sữa
    Address: 14 Nguyen Truong To, Vung Tau
    Phone: 064-523465
    This place is extremely busy from 6am until late.

  • John – Sadly, I am no longer a Philadelphia resident. I think about the city all the time and would like Craig LaBan’s job with all my heart. Take a stroll through Rittenhouse for me! I love that place.

    RR – I’ve added the eatery to my “To Eat List.” I will catch the hyrdrofoil sometime in the near future and give it a whirl. Thanks!

  • Banh Khot and Banh Can (not Canh) are quite similar. Banh Can is more popular in Da Lat (I miss it). If you’re in Saigon, try excellent Banh Khot at Huong Nam restaurant (it’s a small restaurant), last time I checked it’s on Mac Dinh Chi street (very near Le Duan street). Another one which is also excellent is a restaurant (i forgot the name) on Vo Thi Sau street (it’s on the right side of the street, just right before you cross the crossroad of Vo Thi Sau and Pasteur). The crispiness of the outside, the softness inside of Banh Khot together with the sweet, a bit sour, and savoriness of perfectly blended dipping fishsauce on the background of the freshly sweet lettuce is what you can get from these 2 small restaurants.

  • Jocelyn in Saigon

    My regular orders there are “bank khot so diep” (with scallop); “banh xeo hai san mang non” (with seafood and bamboo shoot)the young bamboo shoot is actually hold up better in “banh xeo” than the traditional “gia” (cant think of the English name, lost my tongue!), “bun mam” (rice noodle soup with fermented fish mixed with eggplant, okra and fresh shreded banana flower and herbs) and for the drink is “rau ma nuoc dua” (rau ma with coconut juice). Try them next time i think you will enjoy. make sure you ask them to fry the bank khot well with extra crispy. also i find the service quality is ONE OF THE BEST in town. i always leave them happy tips because these waiters are really tentative to their customers…far better than many expensive restautants in town.

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