What’s for lunch – Bánh cuốn

I decided that I need to get out and eat more street food. It’s easy when you live in a place like Hanoi to want to eat food that reminds you of home. But the street food is so good here, I know I’m going to miss it when we leave so I need to eat as much as I can while we’re still here!

I wanted to eat some bánh cuốn today, so I went to a well-reviewed restaurant in the Old Quarter called Bánh Cuốn Bá Hanh. It’s located behind St. John’s Cathedral in a pretty touristy section of town. What made it touristy? They had a menu, the chef and waitstaff spoke decent English, and I paid about 2x more than I would from a street vender. But it was delicious.

What is bánh cuốn? It’s steamed rice batter cooked like a pancake and filled with ground pork and minced mushrooms, topped with crispy fried shallots and served with nước chấm (fish sauce). I ordered a combo platter which included 6 bánh cuốn, papaya salad, pork lemongrass skewer and a mushroom omelet with a coke. I also ordered a lime juice to go with it. The total bill was 101,000 vnd, a little less than $4.50 usd.

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After eating my lunch and reading for a bit, I decided to walk home. I couldn’t pass up a chocolate éclair from Beard Papa’s on my way. This was 35,000 vnd, $1.50 usd. That brought my total bill for lunch and dessert to less than $6. And it was worth every penny.

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