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Your Da Lat trip is incomplete without enjoying breakfast with banh can

Saturday, July 06, 2019, 21:00 GMT+7
Your Da Lat trip is incomplete without enjoying breakfast with banh can
A woman (not pictured) cooks banh can in Da Lat, Vietnam’s Central Highlands, August 1, 2017. Photo: Son Luong / Tuoi Tre News

A trip to Da Lat, the capital city of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, would be incomplete without trying one of its most famous delicacies - banh can, or mini Vietnamese pancake.

While the dish is available all day long in Ho Chi Minh City or other Vietnamese localities, banh can is a popular breakfast in Da Lat.

In this tourist city, banh can are made from a white mixture of rice powder, which is poured to a pottery pancake pan, put above a coal stove. Next comes the filling: egg, shrimp or squid.

A woman pours powder into a pancake pan to make banh can. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre
A woman pours powder into a pancake pan to make banh can. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

The cakes will then be fried until they are burned slightly, and tourists can sit around the stove to warm themselves against the signature cool atmosphere of Da Lat while watching the banh can seller prepares their special breakfast.

Banh can is comically called ‘the waiting pancake’ as people usually have to wait for the food to be served, for they will never be made in advance as a ready-to-eat dish.

Ready to serve banh can are seen on the pan. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre
Ready to serve banh can are seen on the pan. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

Many speculated that banh can may have originated from Cham people, an ethnic group living in the south-central Vietnamese province of Binh Thuan.

But after making its way to Da Lat, banh can have been modified and now bears a local uniqueness.

In Da Lat’s style, the mini pancakes are normally served in a dish of ten to 12 pieces, with a bowl of broth made of fish sauce, green onions, and meatballs.

Just dip the cakes in the broth and enjoy the harmony of flavors in your mouth.

A typical dish of banh can, served along the meatball sauce and shredded mango. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

“I feel as if I’m a Da Lat local when I go to a banh can store in the morning,” said Huynh Thanh Thanh, a 21-year-old visitor to the Central Highlands city.

Beside breakfast, tourists to Da Lat love to have banh can for dinner, too.

In Da Lat, many banh can eateries are located on Tang Bat Ho, Nha Chung, and Dao Duy Tu Streets.

The popularity of the dish is needless to say, telling from the crowds of customers that can be spotted at these places.

Two women cook banh can in Da Lat, Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

According to banh can sellers in Da Lat, fire is the key factor to cooking the mini pancakes.

The fire used to heat to stove should be well controlled so as to only slightly burn the bottom of the banh can rather than the whole pancakes.

“The way a banh can cook controls the stove fire determines his or her skill,” said Nguyen Vu Quan, a 37-year-old owner of a banh can store in Da Lat.

“At a banh can store, you can hire attendants to do many things but molding the cakes, which must be done by skillful people.”

Two women cook banh can in Da Lat, Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre
Two women cook banh can in Da Lat, Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

For Vo Thi Tran Chau, a 25-year-old tourist, one of the top must-try experience when in Da Lat is not only eating banh can, but also to wait for the dish being cooked on a stove at a street corner.

“Everyone must eat banh can when in Da Lat,” she said.

Two women cook banh can in Da Lat, Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Photo: Huyen Tran / Tuoi Tre
Two women cook banh can in Da Lat, Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Photo: Huyen Tran / Tuoi Tre
A serving of banh can. Photo: Huyen Tran / Tuoi Tre
A serving of banh can. Photo: Huyen Tran / Tuoi Tre
A serving of banh can. Photo: Huyen Tran / Tuoi Tre
A serving of banh can. Photo: Huyen Tran / Tuoi Tre
A serving of banh can. Photo: Son Luong / Tuoi Tre News
A serving of banh can. Photo: Son Luong / Tuoi Tre News

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