How to Make Mekong Delta-Style Crispy Banh Xeo

How to Make Mekong Delta-Style Crispy Banh Xeo
Elly Huynh
How to Make Mekong Delta-Style Crispy Banh Xeo

Indulge in the cultural essence of the Mekong Delta with Banh Xeo—a culinary masterpiece celebrated for its crispy, golden exterior and a decadent medley of stir-fried shrimp, meat, and bean sprouts, harmoniously paired with aromatic herbs. Explore the recipe below to recreate the authentic Mekong Delta-style Banh Xeo and savor the richness of this exquisite dish in your kitchen!

I. Ingredients:

a. For the Pancake Batter:

  • 250g Vietnamese pancake flour mix
  • 50g crispy fried flour mix
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 chicken egg
  • 1 can of beer or carbonated mineral water (500 ml)
  • 100 ml coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt

b. For the Pancake Filling:

  • 200g shrimp
  • 200g pork belly
  • 200g bean sprouts
  • 1 onion

c. For the Pickles:

  • 1/2 white radish
  • 1/2 carrot

d. Spices: Fish sauce, salt, sugar, stock powder, pepper, lime, garlic, chili

e. Vegetables: Mustard greens, lettuce, coriander, basil, scallions, chives

f. Cooking oil or lard

II. Instructions:

1. Preparation

a. Mixing the Pancake Batter

To achieve a crispy texture in the batter, follow these steps:

  • Utilize 250g of pancake flour and 50g of crispy fried flour. Combine these with 100ml of coconut milk and filtered water, producing a liquid volume of 600 - 650ml.
  • This batter quantity is ideal for 4 - 5 servings. Adjust the quantities accordingly if preparing a larger batch.
  • In a spacious bowl, amalgamate pancake flour, crispy fried flour, turmeric powder, eggs, coconut milk, carbonated water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and chopped scallions or chives.
  • Stir the ingredients thoroughly until dissolved. Allow the batter to rest for approximately 30 minutes, ensuring a crispy texture upon frying.

The mixed batter turns yellow and can be garnished with scallions or chives as per your preference. Photo by VnExpress/Bui Thuy
The mixed batter turns yellow and can be garnished with scallions or chives as per your preference. Photo by VnExpress/Bui Thuy

b. Preparing the Filling

  • Choose a fresh pork belly with a balanced mix of lean and fat, displaying a light pink hue. Alternatively, lean shoulder meat can be used as a substitute. Wash the meat thoroughly and cut it into thin pieces.
  • Marinate the meat by adding half a teaspoon each of fish sauce, salt, stock powder, and pepper.
  • For small shrimp, cut off the head and wash. If using large shrimp, peel them.
  • Peel and slice the onion. Ensure the bean sprouts are thoroughly rinsed. Wash and drain fresh vegetables such as mustard greens, lettuce, coriander, and basil.

Banh Xeo
Onions and bean sprouts are included in the filling. Photo by VnExpress/Bui Thuy

2. Cooking Process

a. Stir-frying the filling and assembling the pancakes

Begin by stir-frying the meat, then introduce the shrimp and cook until they achieve a vibrant red color. Season the mixture to taste and set the flavorful filling aside.

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Banh Xeo
The cooked pork belly takes on a light brown hue, while cooked shrimps showcase a bright red color. Photo by VnExpress/Bui Thuy

Continuously, place a pan on high heat. Brush a thin layer of oil or use a piece of lard to establish a non-stick surface. Gradually reduce the heat to medium, then ladle the batter into the pan, ensuring an even tilt to shape a round pancake.

Banh Xeo
Each banh xeo is adorned with a few slices of pork belly, shrimp, and bean sprouts. Photo by VnExpress/Bui Thuy
  • Add the meat, shrimp, some bean sprouts, and onions. Cover and allow the filling to cook for about 1 to 1.5 minutes.
  • Open the lid, and wait for the edges of the pancake to curl and lightly crisp. Apply a little more oil, then gently fold it in half to create a semi-circle shape, pressing down to enhance crispness.
  • Flip it and fry the other side until crispy. Place the banh xeo on a clean plate. Repeat the process until all the batter is used.

Banh Xeo
A folded banh xeo that is ready to serve. Photo by VnExpress/Bui Thuy

b. Dipping Sauce and Pickles

  • To prepare the dipping sauce, combine fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and filtered water in a ratio of 1:1:1:5. In some regions, fresh coconut water is used instead of filtered water.
  • Stir until the sugar completely dissolves, then add garlic and chili for a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty flavors, with hints of garlic and chili.
  • For the pickles, grate or slice white radish and carrots. Marinate them with a pinch of salt, sugar, and vinegar for 15 minutes to absorb the flavors.

Banh Xeo
Banh xeo is commonly accompanied by a dipping sauce and pickles on the side. Photo by VnExpress/Bui Thuy

3. Presentation

Arrange the Banh Xeo pancakes on a tray, accompanied by fresh vegetables, herbs, pickles, and a side of sweet and sour fish sauce. For the best experience, enjoy Banh Xeo while it's hot. Grab a piece, wrap it in rice paper, dip it in the sweet and sour fish sauce, and relish the delightful combination.

Banh Xeo
The end result is a batch of golden, crispy pancakes. Photo by VnExpress/Bui Thuy

Finished Products:

  • These pancakes boast a thin, crispy, golden crust.
  • Inside, they are filled with the delightful combination of sweet shrimp, flavorful fatty pork, crunchy bean sprouts, and subtle hints of coconut milk and green onions.


  • Mekong Delta-style pancakes are known for their large size, thin edges, and thicker center.
  • Filling choices are flexible, including shrimp, meat, seafood, eggs, and more.
  • Ensure a thin batter for crispiness; beer or carbonated water helps achieve the desired texture.
  • Traditionally, pancakes are lined with fresh banana leaves for a unique fragrance.
  • Serve with a variety of vegetables and herbs, enhancing the overall experience.

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