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Oct 10, 2006 12:41 PM

banh cuon?

hi folks. i need some help. i've recently befriended a vietnamese american, and we've had a long standing plan to go with a couple friends to eat a lovely vietnamese dinner. he has this standard dish that he seems to judge all vietnamese restaurants by, which i think is called banh cuong. i don't know about the spelling. when i searched for the dish on this site, i didn't really come up with anything, but i may be spelling the dish incorrectly. it's supposed to be these rice/other starches crepes wrapped around a pork, shrimp filling. he hasn't been that successful in finding the dish in this city.

now he's suddenly planned to leave the city by the end of the month, and i'm starting to feel a bit desperate, because he doesn't really have any recommendations, but we want this meal to happen. or at least i am really into the idea.

we are limited to san francisco proper, because neither of us have a car and the people interested have clashing schedules. if i've mispelled the dish and therefore can't find prior postings, i would appreciate links to old threads. but of course i would love fresh recommendations as well. i've been more or less a reticent shy lurker, but if this meal is a success i would surely come back and report on it. thanks.

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  1. I've seen it spelled bahn cuon, there are many reports that Hung Ky in SF has it.

    Hung Ky
    337 Jones btwn Ellis and Eddy, SF

    one previous chowdown report:

    1. I've seen it spelled Banh Cuon and Bahn Cuong. It is a simple dish, rice paper wraps of pork and mushroom on a nest of herbs and sautéed onions. Its a tasty snack, most often eaten by Vietnamese people for breakfast.
      Do a Google on "bahn cuon san francisco menu" and you will get hits. Zagat mentions Le Colonial in San Francisco.

      12 Replies
      1. re: Wineman

        Not trying to be the spelling cop around here but the correct spelling should be banh cuon. There is no word in the vietnamese language that is spelled bahn. Just thought you all ought to know for future searches. All the banh cuon places I know are in the south bay. I have not seen this dish in SF. I'd be curious to know where to find it in the city too.

        1. re: KathyM

          Yes, the recurrent misspelling of banh mi drives me crazy sometimes. :-)

          Where have you found banh cuon in the South Bay? I know of Quang Da, Banh Cuon Tay Ho, and Dac Phuc. Any other places that I should know about? Have only tried QD's version and liked it, although it's different than what I'm used to.

          Hung Ky in SF is good, as linked by hhc above. It's not on the menu though and they may run out, so it's best to call ahead if that's the focal point of the meal.

          Edited to add: I've never seen it spelled "cuong" before. I've also never seen it w/ shrimp in the filling. Just pork, onions, and mushrooms.

          If anyone would like to make it at home (it's not as hard as you think), here's my mom's recipe:

          1. re: Carb Lover

            There's also a Banh Cuon Tay Ho in Oakland Chinatown (12th and Webster), which is a lot closer and more convenient to SF than SJ, especially since it's only a couple of blocks from the 12th St. BART station.

            Spelling is important on the internet -- search engines work much better if the people who post spell correctly and the people who search know how to spell the term they're searching.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Hi Ruth: Have you had it there (or anything there for that matter?). I've walked by the place many times on my way to Binh Minh Quan, but never tried it....wondering if it is worth a chowlunch?

              1. re: susancinsf

                I haven't been there, but I think it's definitely worth checking out for a chowlunch.

            2. re: Carb Lover

              King Egg Roll on Story has the "shrimp rolls". Three to a package, with a container of sauce. There is a coffee shop across the street from King Egg Roll that also sells them.

              The Vietnamese style restaurant in Monterey Plaza (Monterey Road and Ford) used to sell them (shrimp rolls), I haven't been there this year.

              I thought the "shrimp rolls" were ubiquitous to Vietnamese style restaurants. I have seen them at: coffee houses, vietnamese restaurants and at vietnamese grocery stores in the Tully Road area, in the Senter Road area and the Story/McLaughlin area. They are packed on a styrofoam try, 3 rolls usually with a peanut based sauce, costing around $3.

              1. re: Alan408

                What you are referring to is "goi cuon" which has shrimp instead of pork and is another thing entirely. You're right that every Viet restaurant usually has them on their appetizers menu. In San Jose, I like Dalat's version very much.

                1. re: Carb Lover

                  They make this with pork and omit the shrimp if you ask them; since I'm allergic to shrimp, I know. It is a rice wrapper, lettuce, green onion, rice vermicelli, jalapeno peppers, shrimp and/or roast pork, like a burrito, very light, dipped into a fermented sweetish sometimes hot bean sauce. Makes an excellent appetizer; served two to a plate. If this is what he judges restaurants by, you might get a number of these from restaurants in your area, and have a taste-off with him, just for the fun of it, to see which he prefers. Let us know how it all goes down.

                  1. re: EclecticEater

                    You're right; thinly-sliced pork loin (and sometimes pork skin) is added to some rolls. Rereading the OP's request, I wonder if his friend is really looking for goi cuon but the "crepe" sounds like banh cuon.

                    1. re: Carb Lover

                      no, i'm not talking about goi cuon. i think my mention of shrimp was a mistake, now that i think about it. definitely pork and black mushrooms. now i have all these suggestions and i can't get ahold of him!

              2. re: Carb Lover

                For kicks and giggles I googled banh cuon and found a description of pork and shrimp:

                I have only seen pork myself.

              3. re: KathyM

                Sorry, Bahn was a typo. I'll try to be more careful. Thanks for setting me straight.

            3. Besides Hung Ky (which I LOVE), I have had banh cuon at New Aux Delices on Potrero at 22nd. It was ok, not as good as HK. One plus though: it is on the menu and available at dinner. HK, sadly, does not serve dinner.

              1. you really should look up nooodles' hung ky post from back in february for exhaustive coverage of said topic.

                condensed tips:
                go to hung ky
                go to hung ky early (before noon)
                go to hung ky early via public transportation (the banh cuon was cheap, the parking ticket was not. amazingly, still a worthwhile sortie).


                5 Replies
                1. re: echo

                  ...and Hung Ky has chicken soup with UNBORN EGGS" !!
                  A personal favorite!

                  1. re: ChowFun_derek

                    Derek, Have you actually scored the unborn eggs/pho ga there? Remember, they didn't have it when we went a few months ago...

                    1. re: RWCFoodie

                      Hey Karen, just in case you missed it, I posted on the pho ga w/ unborn egg at Nha Toi:

                      1. re: RWCFoodie

                        Karen..haven't been back yet...I thought of calling in advance...but SO many things are wonderful there that it wouldn't matter, I'd just order something else!

                    2. ah. thanks for the tips and the spellling corrections. i'll get back whenever we manage to make this meal happen.