Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bánh Cuốn Lady

On my third day in Hanoi, I have fallen in love. It's a rather untraditional form of love - on Facebook, one would say it's "complicated." But like all true love, it is obsessive and thrilling, and before it, I am reduced to a state of giddy adolescence. The object of my delirious affection: the lady who makes Bánh Cuốn on Cầu Gỗ Street in Hanoi's Old Quarter.

My true love, shown with her husband, who I intend to knock off at the first opportunity.

Like a vampiric lover, she appears at sunset, with her table and plastic chairs, and her little pancake pan with all her delicious fixings. There she sits for hours, patiently making rice flour crepes and filling them with a heavenly mixture of minced pork and black wood ear mushrooms.

Lifting the crepe off her pan with a stick. A stick, for God's sake!

Lovingly, she dishes them onto cheap plastic plates, topping them with dried shallots, while her husband (who sadly does not have long for this world) prepares the Nước Chấm - a dipping sauce made of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and water, which I am invited to doctor with red chillies and fresh herbs.

The plastic-wrapped hands prove we practice safe sex.

The result is angelic in its sublimity, yet terrifying in its potency, a sorceress' potion that conquers all who ingest it. She is Bánh Cuốn Lady, and despite all her powers, I vow to make her mine.

Unholy bliss for a mere 80 cents.


  1. They say that the way to a man's heart is by way of the stomach! (As I salivate all over the keyboard) Does she have a sister?

  2. And you said you had never cought "the fever". LIAR!!!

  3. Bánh Cuốn Lady won't you come out tonight,
    come out tonight, come out tonight?
    Bánh Cuốn Lady won't you come out tonight,
    and dance by the light of the moon?

  4. This dish is called "name" in Cambodia says Sarom.

  5. Hey Hal, try banh cuon on Hang Ga. It's realllyyyy good :D

  6. if you ever miss them in pittsburgh, go to the vietnamese store in the strip distric, on wednesday they usually have some...