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Ban Xeo

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I'm in search of the best ban xeo in the city. Which Vietnamese resto makes the best?

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  1. I like the bahn xeo pancake at "Bun Saigon", 252 Spadina Avenue (next to the old "Train"). It's crispy and delicious with good coconut flavour. A slight problem is that it's not quite enough as a meal by itself and too much if you order it and a pho or bun, so best to share it with someone else.

    I also had it at An Dao and a place in Mississauga but neither of them were as good.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Teep

      cool cool. Ban Xeo is also often referred to as the "crepe" of Vietnam.

      My mom used to make it often. The inside filling would usually include bean sprouts, pork, and shrimp.

      However I was really never a fan of the filling lol. I LOVE the crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside texture of the shell though.

      And you are right, damn the shell has a nice hint of curry powder (probably why its yellow) minched escallions, and of course coconut milk! All blended in the flour b4 frying it hehehe. mmmmmmmmmm banh xeo shells!

      I respect you for venturing into Vietnamese food that is not just Pho based ehehe.

      1. re: Mike Tyson

        In the versions I had the protein is mixed into the crepe batter, with just bean sprouts in the filling, which is kinda boring as you said. I think the yellow comes from turmeric (which is an ingredient of curry).

        1. re: Mike Tyson

          I'm a big fan of this dish for exactly the reasons you describe. so much at work flavour and texture-wise and there's not much that compares once you tear off a piece, wrap it in some lettuce and dip in the sauce. mmmm...problem is this: i ask for it at most Vietnamese restaurants I eat at (or at least try and find it on the menu) but few seem to offer it. only places I know of where i can get some is Pho Hung or Xe Lua (the train one) on Gerrard. I know Pho Phuong offers a more upscale version but considering how tasty this dish is, i don't know why it's harder to find than a cab on new year's eve!?!

          1. re: yoyodyne

            Hi Yoyo. Thats the thing. There are many Vietnamese restaurants in Toronto that know they are catering to non Viet people who only know about stuff like Pho or Bun dishes.

            So to find stuff like Vietnamese curry goat, Banh Xeo, fried springrolls served over white rice noodles, etc would be a journey.

            If you DO find anything, it still wouldn't be the whole package hehe.

            One specific restaurant can have the Banh Zeo but no curry goat, another restaurant can have fried springrolls but no white noodles, while still another restaurant can have curry goat but no banh xeo.

            One thing EVERY Viet restaurant should have in my opinion though is Cafe Sua Da!!! mmmmmmmmmmm that drink rocks!

            1. re: Mike Tyson

              curry goat is a new thing to me (viet wise), where abouts do you get this?

              my first experience with bahn xeo was pho phuong, and short of the plating i can't imagine calling this more upscale... just more complete. i had a version at pho saigon and it was so awful in comparison. a soggy eggy crepe with little sprouts for filling and tough slices of pork. no lovely herbs to really bring the dish together and nearly impossible to eat because the mush was falling apart.

              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                Yes my parents have told me their stories of back in the days when they used to make curry goat and eat it with either French bread or rice. Thing was, the goat were healthy cuz they ran all over the countrysides and such.

                As for the restaurants in Toronto that sell Vietnamese curry goat, I think I saw it on the menu at "Pho Hung" once... and there
                is another place near King/Dufferin called "Pho Asia 22" or something that has Viet curry goat on the menu too.

                I'm sure the Vietnamese curry goat is a bit more "soupy" than the Jamaican version.

                Here is a bit of proof South Vietnamese eat curry goat hehe
                :

                http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:W...

                ^ Look at the bottom of the page where the dinner menu is; its in the "Specialties section"

                and here
                http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:Z...

                ^ look at the bottom of the page of this link.

                Also I would like to inform you that the Champa People in Vietnam are descendants of ancient people greatly influenced by travellers from India/South Asia. They brought spices and dishes from that region into SE Asia
                = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champa

                1. re: Mike Tyson

                  Hi Mike,

                  Thanks for all the awesome imput. As much as i love pho and bun, i'd definitely be interested in having some of the things you describe! any place you recommend for these specialties aside from those in your post?

                  agreed on the coffee! love it. also fond of the perserved lemon drink. so refreshing!

                2. re: pinstripeprincess

                  @PSP,

                  you took some great pix of it though for your blogTO review. i guess i just assumed it was upscale from the plating. very much looking forward to trying it myself. that and the duck noodles.

                  1. re: yoyodyne

                    thanks :) be warned though.. i've recently been told that the duck noodles are not everyones cup of tea. with pigs blood cubes and bamboo being a big turn off. another must try there would be the shakes, smooth and just sweet enough, they use fresh fruit with no traces of mysterious powders.

                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                      yeah, the pig's blood cubes were actually a selling point for me. sounds very interesting. I guess after you try balut, everything else seems a little tame in comparison. if/when i get around to hitting this resto, i'll definitely remember to have a shake as well!

                      http://fakemagazine.wordpress.com/200...

                  2. re: pinstripeprincess

                    Princess,

                    my brother mentioned that the place that used to be just north of "train pho" relocated to baldwin and supposedly have a great curry goat on the menu.

                    by the way, love the pix & review:
                    http://tongueandcheek.ca/2007/10/13/o...

                    also, i have tried ban xeo at many places including home cooked by an instructor chef from vietnam. and i have found pho phoung rates near the top.

          2. Pho Hung makes an excellent Banh Xeo - $8 - just went there yesterday (12/13/2010). Nice and crispy outside and yummy soft inside with all the traditional filling - shrimp, bean sprouts, mung bean, etc.

            I'm still looking for a Viet restaurant that makes Banh Xeo in Scarborough/Markham/Richmond Hill area. If anyone knows one, please post!

            -----
            Pho Hung
            350 Spadina, Toronto, ON M5T2G4, CA