Seaport Seafood Dakao To Go: Classic Vietnamese Cuisine

14550 Brookhurst St.
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 775-8194

Hmmm…where do I start with what this is exactly. Well, the official Vietnamese name for this dish is Banh Beo and all I can tell you is that it’s really good.  The dish is generally not eaten often as it’s considered more take out food for Vietnamese people.  The other thing about this is that its not eaten very much, or well known for that matter, outside the Vietnamese culture.  Luckily, if you live here in Orange County, there are many Vietnamese restaurants that can definitely assist you in trying this out, however, this place kicks chicken butt all day long.

What you see in the above picture is probably a jumble mess of things that are hard to discern.  Let’s start with what Banh Beo is.  It’s basically high gluten rice flour that has been mixed with water, put into round metal molds about 1/8th inch thick, and then steamed.  It’s basically flavorless by itself.  However, to add flavor to the party, people put ground up shrimp, grilled garlic, sauteed scallions and the yellow paste you see above me…which is basically soy beans that has been mashed up and seasoned with magic dust (I have no idea what goes in it hahahahah, hey give me a break, I’m trying here)!

To top it all off, you have to add fish sauce…which as gross as it sounds, is a necessity on this dish.  Now you ask me, “Hey V, what’s fish sauce?”  Well my little dumplings, let me enlighten you on this ancient process.  Fish sauce is basically made by rubbing down fish with salt, then putting it in large mortar jars with some water,  and letting it ferment until all the fishes release all of their wonderful juices (their bodily fluid).  YES, I KNOW, I KNOW…it doesn’t sound appetizing, but think of it this way…this is how sauerkraut, pastrami, wine, and other great foods are made…Vietnamese people just decided to experiment with fish, except oddly enough they don’t eat the product they ferment, they take the fermented liquid 0_0.  Okay, did you come back from the restroom yet? Good…just drink some herbal tea and I promise the nausea will go away in an hour.  Anyway, back to the discussion…the taste of fish sauce is not what you might think it is at all.  It actually just taste really salty with….some…other fishy flavors haha. Okay, but in it’s own defense, if marinated properly…this is actually Vietnam’s version of sweet and sour sauce…which exactly does taste that way.  You put this over the banh beo and you got heaven.

Finally to discuss the overall taste (sorry about going offline with fish sauce).  The banh beo is soft, chewy, and has a mild sweet sugary flavor to it after the fish sauce is added.  Now, based on regional differences, it can actually just taste salty without any sweetness to it.  It depends what shop you go to, but the northern version of Vietnam tends to eat this on the sweet side, while the southern version eats it on the salty side with pork rinds replacing the soy bean.

I wouldn’t try making this on your own because for one…I don’t know how to make it, so if you do learn how…teach me.  The other reason is that my expert Vietnamese buddies tell me that making the flour cakes themselves is very difficult since it’s very delicate.  You have to come here to try it if you are a first timer, because this place makes it just perfect in terms of the texture because it’s the proper amount of chewy and tender.  The sweetness is also a good way to introduce this dish to beginners as well as the fish sauce smell isn’t as strong.  They speak English and they have single person portions if you get confused  or lost.  Happy EATING!!  Leave comments if you feel discouraged or scared of this dish because of the fish sauce, I will gladly answer questions lol.

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~ by thankgoditsfood on January 20, 2010.

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