Thursday, July 05, 2012

Roll cake Tây Hồ (Bánh cuốn Tây Hồ)

I love the name Tây Hồ. It sounds nice in Vietnamese and it means West lake! In Sài Gòn regrettably we don't have any lake. Tây hồ is in Hà Nội. I'm not sure this roll cake originally comes from some place around West lake or not, or just a name! But this stall is famous for long...since 1961!

The steamed roll cake we had tonight is in a northern style, it means cake with filling. I had another post about roll cake at Thiên Hương when I just started this blog. I've been to bánh cuốn Tây Hồ few years ago but never been back there until last night. There are two stalls with the same name but separated by a small road and owned by two sisters.  

            Roll cake (or bánh cuốn) is filled with well seasoned pork meat! 

I went there with friend around 7PM. It's a right time for dinner outside but the stall is half empty. Roll cake probably is not a right choice for evening meal? It's more likely for breakfast or lunch! Same as many other places selling roll cake in the city, always a plate with two pieces of ham (chả), a small bowl for fish sauce that you can serve yourself from a big jar of sauce on the table and finally a plate of roll cake topped with deep fried shallots, blanched bean sprouts and some herbs (Vietnamese basil)! 

I realized that the cake from bánh cuốn Tây Hồ is more glutinous than the other place, bite a cake and I feel the difference ...smooth as silk (sorry not Thai airways!) and a bit chewy, sticky...that's my first impression! Is it a secret that makes Tây Hồ famous?

             Small bowl for fish sauce and personal use! 

As southern-born, I may pour the fish sauce into my plate, but this time I tried a northern style, I take a roll cake and put it in small bowl with sweet fish sauce. I suddenly understand why Vietnamese didn't pay much attention to some details or formalities while eating, if that could make some other nations famous like Korean or Japanese. Actually people from Hà Nội are more keen to the details than people here in Sài Gòn.

              A roll cake without fillings. 

We did order an extra roll cake without fillings. If compared with another kind of roll cake in a southern style I would prefer a cale we call "wet" or bánh ướt! Roll cake in a northern style should be filled with something!

I saw a golden plate on the wall, the name of the owner who already passed away few years ago. The family business since 1961, older than me...I just imagine how it look like, the stall, in 1960s? The roll cake quality? The taste? The service ?

By the way my friend who is an overseas Vietnamese couldn't catch what the young waiter said to him when he tried to order some drink, he asked me to check. I couldn't understand either! It happened twice, here and at broken rice place called "Ba Ghiền"! Seems we are hopelessly out of date!

Bánh cuốn Tây Hồ at 127 Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Tel: 38200584 or 
271 Phan Xích Long, Phú Nhuận, Tel: 39951179  

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