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The cake lady


Our next pew down the local market finds us with the Cake lady. Here we're talking Banh khot (sometimes called Banh can). They're small, sweet, savoury pancakes made from ground rice mixed with water to make a batter and in this case some corn is added. They're normally dipped in nuoc mam (fish sauce) and gob-popped within a few minutes of exiting the pan. Leave them too long, or take an extra bag home as we did, and you've got nothing but soggy, no-fun scraps. Speed is of the essence with Banh khot. She's a seven days a week stallholder and, much like the banana griller we got stuck into recently, you'll need to book your cake ahead of scofftime. Alternatively, if you're shopped out, like us, sit stallside, listen to your battered snacks sizzling from the two burners on the go, have a natter and wait your turn.


She sets up stall in front of her house, next to a Bun Bo Hue seller, at the very far end of the market. It's popular with the youth. We're here for a good ten minutes and there's not a codger in sight. Each burner cooks eight Banh khot, but one portion consists of five cakes. You can also ask for a mini-plate of greens and herbs to perform a cake-wrap, if that's your thing. We opt for straight cakes, chilled via the fish sauce bowl. I was a little too eager to get stuck into these fellas and can report roof-of-mouth-burn is a factor with this dish. A plate is around 5000VD.


Cooked to a crisp, moist inside, slightly sweet. We've had better, prawn dusted Banh khot at Co Hai and far worse on Ben Thanh night market, but for al fresco, post-shopping scoff, these hot fluffy fancies and their salty dip will do very nicely thank you very much.


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» Cake Lady & Banana Barbie - Food-Journalismus aus Saigon from Notizen fuer Geniesser
Stallholder in Saigon: Cake Lady verkauft in Fisch-Sauce getraenkte, triefende Pfannkuchen, Banh khot genannt. Banana Barbie ist die Aeltestete auf dem Markt mit dem kleinsten Stand und Spezialistin für das Grillen von Fingerbananen, den Chuoi nuong. [Read More]


Hi Noodlepie,

What is this made of? It looks interesting. How's the taste? It looks a bit thick, so is it crisp outside and moist inside? bahn tom the sweet potato cracker with a shrimp on it? I've been wondering. I had it with some noodle dish at a Vietnamese restaurant the other day, but didn't remember what it was called.

Yea I was about to ask the saem question - what's it made of?

I see something that resembles corn floating at the top.

I've re-edited the post to make it clearer, but we'e in rice flour batter territory here. Eagle eyed Fats is on the ball, there is corn on this version. The previous ones I link to have nothing or a prawn. It's crispy and moist in the middle.

Reid - google noodlepie for banh tom ho tay. You're right it is the wonderful sweet potato/shrimp dish. Banh khot is quite different. As far I understand it the word 'banh' pretty much covers all cakes and breadstuffs.

pieman, what happened to the paypal button on your site? what can an american send you in appreciation of noodlepie?


Hi Thuy - I never had a PayPal button. And they caused me all sorts of problems when I tried to use the service for a work once. Can't use it from Vietnam apparently. The account I did have over a year ago is now blocked. An 'e-donation box' is an idea though. I'll look into it. Meanwhile, just send me your comments...

I may be wrong here, but if you have a credit card issued from outside Vietnam (say, randomly of course, the UK) PayPal would work.

It may not work with a Vietnam issued credit card, but it should work in Vietnam if you used any other credit cards.

My paltry 2 cents.

You're not wrong Fats. I did set it up from 'Nam with a UK card. I eventually got paid too, but PayPal's 'security settings' kept flagging me 'cos I accessed the account from 'Nam. I had to fax them reams of documents and it all got very annoying. Vietnam is not one of the countries on their list. They eventually stopped my account and coughed the cash up some 3 or 4 months later.

The only option seems to be to use a trusted UK based contact to run things for me. The same goes for other online payment thingies. At least the ones I have briefly looked into.

They do look good.. :)i think the only reason why i never tried street food was because i had.. and still have a weak stomach.. :(
I get food poisoning from anything..!! Stupid stomach of mine..!!

ngon lam, chi o'i . Em muon di viet nam nu'a. Di an mon an Viet nam.

Hi, is this place in Saigon? I was in Vietnam like 8 years ago and I used to get banh khot everyday in the area I stayed at and the lady in the photo looks like the same lady I got it from. If it was her, this would be too wierd.

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