Banh beo, the steamed rice pancake, in Binh Dinh looks very similar to other versions which can be easily found in many parts of the central region.
The cakes are thick and small, with lots of toppings.
But they taste distinctively different.
Even though they are made from rice flour only, just like in other places, they have this mysterious, light fragrance. Their toppings consist of finely chopped Chinese chives and green onions mixed with peanut oil, tuna floss, finely ground peanuts and fried shallots.
One last touch: a seasoned fish sauce which is a bit sweet and sour, and mixed with chili and garlic, is poured onto the cakes.
Banh beo has always been one of my most favorite snacks since I was a kid.
Since I moved to big cities for study and work years ago and have tried different versions of banh beo with refined looks and flavors, those raw-looking, uneven cakes made by old ladies in my hometown are still the best.
And, what's more, a dish full of cakes in Binh Dinh comes at just VND10,000, or less than 50 cents.