Bánh Xèo Chay

April 9, 2010

What’s bánh xèo chay you ask? Well, according to my recently acquired cookbook, The Asian Vegan Kitchen, it is a Vietnamese pancake rolled with vegetables. According to Google translate, it’s Vietnamese for vegetarian pancake. And according to my taste buds, it’s a tasty dinner!

Here’s my bánh xèo chay frying on the skillet. It’s a fairly simple recipe: you make some pancake batter, pour it on the frying pan, and then cover it with tasty vegetables, such as bean sprouts, shredded daikon and carrot, onions, and chives.

Now as some of you will know, I’m a big fan of Asian pancakes. For a while there in December, I think I was eating a big slab of Japanese okonomiyaki like every night for dinner. And earlier this year, I tried my hand at making a Korean kimchi pancake. This was my first time with the Vietnamese variety of pancake, though, both in terms of making and tasting (in fact, my experience with Vietnamese food in general is very slim; I should probably do something about that). One of the major differences between this bánh xèo chay and the Japanese and Korean cakes is that for the latter the vegetables are mixed right in with their batter, while for the former the vegetables are kept separate. The other major difference, though, is that (at least according to the recipe I followed) you don’t flip your bánh xèo chay over when the first side’s done; instead, you fold it in half like an omelette!

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was at successfully folding this pancake so nicely (this was actually my second attempt; my first was a complete—and disorderly—disaster). Here it is cut open:

I liked how this folding made the final pancake nice and crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. However, overall I have to say that I still prefer okonomiyaki. Something about the different flavors in this bánh xèo chay just didn’t do it for me, at least not to the extent that okonomiyaki does. Nonetheless, making bánh xèo chay was definitely a fun and exciting experience, and I’m looking forward to trying more Vietnamese recipes in the future!

Until we eat again,




  1. Great work with this pancake! Mine wasn’t anywhere near as photogenic. And speaking of photogenic food… did you see the article in the NY Times Dining section on Thursday?

  2. Thanks for teaching me about bánh xèo chay and okonomiyaki. You’ve made me want to try them!

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