Banh Cuon Hanoi: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam

The silky, steamed rice rolls, filled with a savory mixture of minced pork and wood ear mushrooms, are a testament to the art of Vietnam’s Banh Cuon. Served warm and drizzled with a light, tangy fish sauce, each bite of the dish offers a perfect harmony of textures and flavors. Topped with crispy fried shallots and accompanied by fresh herbs, this dish is not just a meal but a vibrant celebration of Vietnam’s rich culinary heritage.

Tracing its origins back to the northern regions of Vietnam, Banh Cuon has a rich history that reflects the country’s diverse cultural influences and culinary traditions. Let’s delve into its past and tradition in the next part!

Embracing History and Tradition

The origins of Banh Cuon can be traced back to Northern Vietnam, particularly Hanoi, where it is considered a popular breakfast or snack option. The dish is believed to have been influenced by Chinese cuisine, as the technique of steaming rice batter to make thin rice cakes was introduced to Vietnam by Chinese immigrants.

As Banh Cuon gained popularity, each region in Vietnam put its spin on the dish, incorporating local flavors and ingredients. In the Central region, Banh Cuon is served with a thinner rice paper and a different dipping sauce. In the South, the dish is known as Banh Uot, and the filling can include shrimp or beef in addition to pork.

Apart from its delicious taste, Banh Cuon also reflects the artistry and skill of Vietnamese cooks. Making the thin and delicate rice paper requires precision and practice. The filling is also meticulously prepared to ensure a harmonious blend of flavors.

In Vietnamese culture, Banh Cuon is often enjoyed with family and friends, creating a sense of togetherness and celebration. It is a dish that showcases the country’s rich culinary heritage and the importance of communal dining.

A Symphony of Flavors

Banh Cuonis truly a symphony of flavors that delights the senses with each bite. This traditional dish consists of delicate, thin rice paper rolls filled with a savory mixture of ground pork, wood ear mushrooms, and minced shallots, then topped with crispy fried shallots. Accompanied by fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and a dipping sauce known as nuoc cham, Banh Cuon offers a harmonious blend of textures and tastes that make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Let’s break down the symphony of flavors that make Banh Cuon a culinary masterpiece:

  • The Soft and Tender Rice Paper: The foundation of Banh Cuon is the steamed rice paper, which is thin, soft, and slightly chewy. It serves as the perfect vehicle to encase the flavorful filling and soak up the delicious dipping sauce.
  • The Umami-Rich Filling: The filling of Banh Cuon is a combination of seasoned ground pork, fragrant wood ear mushrooms, and aromatic shallots. This savory mixture provides depth of flavor and umami notes that complement the delicate rice paper. 
  • The Crispiness of Fried Shallots: A sprinkling of crispy fried shallots on top adds a textural contrast to the soft rice paper and filling. The crunchy texture and savory flavor of the shallots elevate the overall sensory experience.
  • Fresh Herbs and Bean Sprouts: Banh Cuon is typically served with an assortment of fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, and Vietnamese coriander, as well as crunchy bean sprouts. These elements add freshness, brightness, and a hint of herbal aroma to each bite.
  • Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce: The nuoc cham dipping sauce, a ubiquitous condiment in Vietnamese cuisine, is a key component of Banh Cuon. Made with fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and chili, this savory-sweet-sour sauce enhances the flavors of the dish and provides a balance of tastes.

When all these elements come together, Banh Cuon creates a symphony of flavors that dance on the taste buds, offering a balance of textures, aromas, and tastes. Whether enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Banh Cuon is a culinary delight that exemplifies the diversity and richness of Vietnamese cuisine.

7 must-visit destinations to enjoy Banh Cuon in Hanoi

Gia An Banh Cuon

  • Location: Multiple locations throughout Hanoi, including 21A Lo Duc, 61 Huynh Thuc Khang, 70 Trung Hoa, etc.
  • Average Price: 25,000 – 35,000 VND per serving
  • Opening Hours: 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Distinctive Feature: Known for its flavorful and unique dipping sauce. They boast 16 locations in Hanoi.

Ba Hoanh Banh Cuon

  • Location: Multiple locations including 66 To Hien Thanh, 6 Ngo 50 Dang Thai Mai, 52 Ngoc Lam, and 6 Nguyen Huu Tho.
  • Average Price: 20,000 – 30,000 VND per serving
  • Opening Hours: 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Distinctive Feature: Offers traditional Thanh Tri-style banh cuon with thin, crispy shells and flavorful fillings.

Phuong Banh Cuon

  • Location: 68 Hang Cot
  • Average Price: 25,000 – 35,000 VND per serving
  • Opening Hours: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Distinctive Feature: Serves steaming hot banh cuon with a variety of fillings.

Hang Banh Cuon Ngo 29 Thuy Khue

  • Location: 29 Thuy Khue
  • Average Price: 13,000 VND (basic), 20,000 VND with “chả thịt”.
  • Opening Hours: 6:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Distinctive Feature: Family-run since the 1950s, serving traditional banh cuon with thin, translucent shells and a savory dipping sauce.

Banh Cuon 101 Ba Trieu

  • Location: 155 Trieu Viet Vuong (formerly at 101 Ba Trieu)
  • Average Price: 20,000 – 40,000 VND per serving (depending on the filling)
  • Opening Hours: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Distinctive Feature: Offers a wide variety of banh cuon options, including fillings like shrimp, mushrooms, eggs, and more. They use 100% rice flour for their shells and fresh ingredients for their toppings.

Chi Su Banh Cuon

  • Location: 1C3 Hoang Ngoc Phach
  • Average Price: 15,000 – 25,000 VND per serving
  • Opening Hours: 6:00 AM – 3:00 PM & 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Distinctive Feature: Known for the owner’s impressive skills in making banh cuon. Offers a standard serving with one egg banh cuon and five meat banh cuon.

Banh Cuon 50 Doi Can

  • Location: 50 Doi Can
  • Average Price: 20,000 – 30,000 VND per serving
  • Opening Hours: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Distinctive Feature: Traditional family-run banh cuon shop serving classic Hanoi-style banh cuon.

Tips for Enjoying Banh Cuon

While Banh Cuon from Vietnam is a delicious and popular dish, there are a few considerations to keep in mind to ensure a pleasant dining experience. Here are some tips to watch out for when eating Banh Cuon:

  • Hot Temperature: Banh Cuon is often served hot or warm, so be cautious when taking your first bites to avoid burning your mouth. Allow it to cool down slightly before diving in.
  • Dipping Sauce: The nuoc cham dipping sauce served with Banh Cuon can sometimes be spicy due to the addition of chili. If you’re sensitive to heat, taste a small amount first before drenching your rice paper rolls in it.
  • Herb Stems: While the fresh herbs add a burst of flavor to Banh Cuon, be mindful of any herb stems that may be tough or fibrous. It’s best to pull the leaves off the stems before adding them to your rolls.
  • Filling Temperature: The savory filling of Banh Cuon may be hot, so take care not to burn your tongue when biting into the rice paper rolls. Give it a moment to cool slightly before enjoying it.
  • Crispy Fried Shallots: The crispy fried shallots on top of Banh Cuon can add a delightful crunch, but be aware that they may be hot and retain heat. Allow them to cool down or blow on them before eating.
  • Portion Size: Banh Cuon is a light and delicate dish, so be mindful of portion sizes. It’s easy to eat multiple rolls quickly but pace yourself to fully appreciate the flavors and textures.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can fully enjoy the culinary experience of eating Banh Cuon while ensuring that you have a safe and enjoyable dining experience. So, savor each bite, appreciate the flavors, and remember to approach your meal with mindfulness and care.


Banh Cuon’s allure lies not only in its delectable taste but also in the cultural narratives and culinary mastery it represents. As we conclude our journey through the world of Banh Cuon, let us carry forth an appreciation for the artistry, flavors, and history encapsulated within this beloved Vietnamese dish.

Experience the timeless traditions and exquisite flavors of Banh Cuon, and let its culinary charm transport you to the heart of Vietnam’s rich gastronomic heritage.