Four popular snacks have got a creative twist in Vung Tau despite not originating in the southern town.
Locals have tweaked their sizes, ingredients or cooking methods.
Banh khot (mini pancake)
A plate of hot banh khot.
Sizzling banh khot on a mold somewhat resembles Japanese takoyaki (octopus balls) but has a crispier texture and the yellow of turmeric added to white rice.
But in Vung Tau, banh khot does not contain turmeric powder, and is deep fried to ensure crunchiness. Toppings include shrimp, squid and mantis shrimp decorated with scallions and shrimp powder to further enhance the flavor.
The dish is eaten with shredded carrot and green papaya and herbs such as lettuce and mustard greens, and dipped in savory and sweet fish sauce.
It is sold at an eatery called Ba Hai at 42 Tran Dong Street, Ward 3, with a portion of eight pieces costing VND60,000 ($2.6).
Banh beo, which originated in central Thua Thien – Hue Province, has a soft white base made of rice flour, tapioca flour, and shrimp and pork skin on top.
It is a versatile dish since the base goes well with many different toppings. The Vung Tau version consists of mung bean paste, shredded pork and pork skin, lettuce and other herbs, and roasted peanuts and scallion oil for a rich flavor.
The popular red shrimp powder is sprinkled over banh beo and one can add pickled carrot and white radish.
Banh beo can be found at Tuyet Mai at 2 Phan Chu Trinh Street, Ward 2. A plate for one costs from VND40,000 ($1.7).
Salted egg yolk cake
A bowl of salted egg cupcakes.
Sponge cake with salted egg in Vung Tau is the size of a cupcake that can be eaten in one mouthful unlike the full-sized version with salted egg and meat floss on top usually found elsewhere.
Due to its size, each egg yolk is sliced in half. The combination of salt in the egg and slight sweetness of the cake has made it a popular dish in recent years.
It is sold at many places in Vung Tau, but one of the most famous is Goc Cot Dien cake shop at 17B Nguyen Truong To Street, Ward 2. A box of nine costs from VND25,000 ($1.1).
Banh tieu filled with mung bean
A stall sells banh tieu (L) in Vung Tau.
Similar to banh beo because of its varied fillings, banh tieu is popular in Vietnam, Taiwan and mainland China in numerous versions ranging from pork and beef fillings to no filling at all.
Vung Tau’s banh tieu are filled with ground mung bean or milk and egg paste. Each costs VND4,000 ($0.2).
A stall selling this dish at 43 Do Chieu Street, Ward 1 opens late in the afternoon and guests have to queue up or place an advance order in the morning to buy.
Photo courtesy of Huynh Nhi, @ngochan_lenguyen/Foody, @lequanghuan89/Instagram.