Why has it taken me all this time to try Banh Xeo 46A?! That, I do not know – but what I do know is that this place is a must-try for those wanting an authentic, cheap and delicious local dining experience in Saigon. Its namesake banh xeo is the house specialty – a thin, light yet fluffy pancake reminiscent of a South Indian dosa folded over shrimp, pork and bean sprouts, all wrapped up in a selection of leafy greens (including mustard leaves and mint) and dipped in nuoc mam, Vietnam’s famous fish sauce based condiment.
Despite Banh Xeo 46A’s widespread popularity and listing in many guidebooks, it was jam-packed with Saigonites during our visit (as in the real kind, not expats!). The outdoor restaurant features long metal tables, little plastic stools and a boisterous atmosphere, with swift, efficient service better than that often encountered in far higher end places in the city. They even managed to whip up a non-meat option for my vego friend (yes, just bean sprouts in pancake – but with the accompanying greens and a special non-fishy dipping sauce, she swore she loved it!).
The cha gio (fried spring rolls) were also amazingly tasty – some of the best I’ve had. Am thinking of making a weekly pilgrimage!
Banh Xeo, 46A Dinh Cong Trang, D1, Saigon