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Binh Dinh's banh beo: A taste of culinary finesse for only 50 cents
By Tam Ngoc - TN News -

A dish of banh beo costs less than 50 cents in Binh Dinh. Photos: Tam Ngoc

Banh beo must be "soaked" in fish sauce when served

 Binh Dinh's banh beo is thick and looks like a saucer

 Tuna floss is part of banh beo's toppings

 Green onions and Chinese chives is another topping

 Binh Dinh's banh beo is cooked and often served in little bowls

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.