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Vung Tau s mini pancake commands extra large following

(No.5, Vol.3, June 2013 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

Vung Tau is a city that not only offers many delicious foods, but also blends flavours from North, Central and South Vietnam. This is due to its bustling seaports and a mix of residents from many other provinces.


Making Khot cakes at Goc Vu Sua Restaurant

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism selected Vung Tau to host the first World Cuisine Festival in Vietnam. The festival was held in 2010 with the theme ‘to taste the whole world’, which attracted participants from 40 countries and 40 domestic provinces and cities.
Most restaurants in this beach city have many seafood specialties. One of the most famous dishes is Khot cake, mini-sized fried rice pancake with shrimp or squid topping. The dish was invented by the residents of the southern and central regions long ago and is quite easy to make.
Of about 20 provinces that make Khot cake, the most famous is Vung Tau. ‘Khot cakes from Vung Tau are well-known because they are highly praised for their special flavour and taste by many tourists,’ an owner of a Khot cake restaurant said.
In recent years, a number of Khot cake shop owners from Vung Tau have opened branches in Saigon. At present, there are about ten Khot cake restaurants originating from Vung Tau in Saigon.
Walking on the windy roads of Vung Tau, I noticed many Khot cake restaurants. After trying three Khot cake restaurants in three different areas, I realized that the method and taste were quite similar, but many visitors said that the cakes from Goc Vu Sua (Star Apple Roots) restaurant were the most mouth-watering.
Standing in front of Goc Vu Sua restaurant, I saw two wood-burning stoves made from sun-hardened mud and built in the traditional style. Currently, many Khot cake restaurants in Vung Tau use gas stoves to fry Khot cakes.
The hands of the six women sitting around the two burning stoves danced swiftly as they placed cooking oil, fluid flour and a shrimp or squid core into each indentation. The smell of the cooking oil mingled with onion’s leaves, creating a fragrant aroma.
Despite the smoke from the stoves that pervaded the front of the restaurant, groups of customers rushed to fill every table of the restaurant. Because there were no seats available, dozens of tourists had to kill time by filming and taking photographs of the cooks. Some curious visitors asked the cooks about the process of making Khot cakes.
Seeing that Goc Vu Sua attracts many customers, some Khot cake restaurant owners in Vung Tau have imitated the brand. To deal with this situation, the owner of Goc Vu Sua restaurant had to inscribe the words ‘no branches’ on the sign, said a cook who was scooping the liquid rice flour with a big spoon to pour into the indentations.
After 10 minutes of waiting, the server laid out before me a plate of Khot cakes at VND30,000, including seven cakes, a plate of raw vegetables, lettuces and several other herbs, a plate of papaya chopped into small threads and a small bowl of fish sauce spotted with chili.
I put a Khot cake at the centre of a big lettuce leaf before covering the top with some papaya threads and herbs, and then I rolled it up in a cylinder and dipped it into the cup of fish sauce spiked with red chili pepper before putting it to my mouth.
The flavours of the crisply fried rice flour, fresh cooked shrimp, papaya, lettuces, herbs, fish sauce and chili fused together, and created an indescribable feeling. You simply must experience it yourself.

Co Ba Vung Tau, 1 Hoang Hoa Tham St, Vung Tau, Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province
Tuyet Banh Khot, 84 Truong Cong Dinh St, Vung Tau, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province
Banh Khot 41, 24A Tran Dong St, Vung Tau, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province
Goc Vu Sua, 14 Nguyen Truong To St, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province.

This section, covering Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, is sponsored by Ba Ria-Vung Tau Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.


Text and photos by Dang Khoa
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