Hue is situated in the tropical monsoon climate area, which means it gets a lot of sun and rain. Lowland, sea, lagoons, and mountains make up the varied terrain. However, thanks to the severe weather, many abundant and well-known foods are produced in some areas.
Hue people have long been known for their rigorous attention to detail and sophistication when it comes to food. Khoai Cake (hue fried pancake) is a well-known Hue specialty that can only be found in Hue City. Hue fried pancake, like a one-of-a-kind Hue culinary painting, preserves the unique flavor of central Vietnam. It clearly demonstrates the eating style and culinary philosophy of the Hue people.
The name “Khoai cake” comes from an old story about how, in the past, it got all smoky when the cooks made crispy pancakes while the wood stove got wet due to rainy weather. As a result, it was originally known as “Khoi cake” with “khoi” meaning “smoke” in Vietnamese, but was later renamed to “Khoai Cake” in accordance with Hue’s accent.
Hue fried pancake are made from carefully selected rice that has been finely ground and mixed with the appropriate amount of water. The cooks will add chicken eggs, tumeric and salt to the mixture to enhance the flavor and color of the pancake. The batter of Khoai Cake includes pork, shrimps, char siu, bean sprouts and spring onion.
Hue fried pancake dipping sauce is distinct from that found in the southern of Vietnam. It’s a rich brown-yellow sauce with pork liver, minced lean pork, and ground peanuts. Khoai Cake is served with fresh greens (lettuce, herbs, julienned unripe bananas, star-fruits) and this special dipping sauce.
After heating the 15-cm-diameter pan with oil, the cook will swiftly scoop one mold of the prepared mixture. The pancakes are done after about five minutes of adding fillings and can be served hot. The crunch of the pancake batter is what makes this dish so delicious. As the name implies, this dish is delicious.
Although Khoai Cake and Xeo Cake (or sizzling cake) are not the same, many people mistakenly believe they are. In Southern Vietnam, Banh Xeo is a specialty, while Khoai Cake is a Hue specialty. It is similar to Vietnamese Xeo Cake, but smaller and thicker. Hue fried pancake, which translates to delicious cake, and it is served open-faced. Xeo Cake is likewise made of rice flour, however there is no egg or spring onion in Khoai Cake’s batter. The crispy texture of Hue fried pancake is one of its distinguishing features because the batter of Xeo Cake isn’t made with eggs.
So, if you’re visiting Hue City, you should enjoy Khoai Cake to explore more about Hue cuisine.
- Lac Thien Restaurant, 06 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hue City
- Hanh Restaurant, 11 Pho Duc Chinh Street, Hue City
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