Trying out local restaurants is a very important part of travelling to me. It gives me a peek into the culture of the country.
When my girlfriend and I decided that we were going to Vietnam, I made a list of the best places to eat in Vietnam. I chose to visit Banh Cuon Gia Truyen in the end because of its relative proximity to where I am staying and also because it is the only one I could locate. Don’t laugh, Hanoi’s streets are not exactly navigation friendly. There are no visible street names and Google Map has a habit of making me go in circles. I was hungry and tired when I passed by Banh Cuon Gia Truyen, so I decided to have lunch here.
Banh Cuon Gia Truyen is a smallish Vietnamese restaurant that is famous for its banh cuoh (Vietnamese steamed rice rolls). This dish originated from North Vietnam and TripAdvisor has many rave reviews of Banh Cuon Gia Truyen’s banh cuon.
It’s evident that Banh Cuon Gia Truyen receives many foreign visitors, its menu even has English translations. This makes it easy for tourists like me to order the food we want.
Banh Cuon Gia Truyen sells only two types of food: banh cuon and bun (pho) with many variations.
This is Banh Cuon Nhan Thit Lon [35000VND] (steamed rolled rice pancake with pork meat). This version with seasoned pork is probably the most common version found all around Vietnam. It is very similar to the chee cheong fun that I am used to having in Singapore, but the rice rolls are much thinner.
Banh cuon is made from thin wide sheet of steamed fermented rice batter. It is usually served with minced earwood mushroom and minced shallots together with your choice of filling.
There are 9 other filling to choose from: chicken meat, fresh shrimp, lean pork paste, roasted cinnamon pork, roasted green rice pork, Chinese sausage, chicken egg, belostomatid essence and belostomatid. Belostomatid is a water bug which is cut into pieces. Don’t order the belostomatid if you are not an adventurous eater, the idea of eating bugs may not appeal to everyone.
The rice rolls are soft and silky-smooth and your choice of filling determines the taste and texture of the banh cuon. Banh cuon can be eaten both as a snack or as a meal. Many Vietnamese have banh cuon for breakfast.
Try eating your banh cuon with the nuoc cham (fish sauce) provided for more flavour.
This is Bun Ga [45000 VND] (vermicelli and chicken soup) but I really should have ordered Bun Thang [45000VND] instead. Bun ga is simply chicken soup and vermicelli served with shredded chicken. The chicken soup is clear but flavourful, probably thanks to hours of boiling.
If you only have time to try out one restaurant in Hanoi, make sure you visit Banh Cuon Gia Truyen. You will get to have traditional Vietnames banh cuon and bun that will leave you wanting more.
Banh Cuon Gia Truyen
SAddress: 12-14 Hang Ga, Hang Bo, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
Telephone: +84 24 38280108
Opening Hours: Daily 7am – 1pm; 5pm – 10pm”