Quick Bytes: Bánh Xèo or Vietnamese Pancake festival at Syn, Taj Deccan

My limited exposure to Vietnamese cuisine has only been through trying out a couple of Pan-Asian restaurants and a few Vietnamese food promotions in various hotels. Whereas Pho has been ubiquitous in all these places, I did not come across Bánh xèo or Vietnamese Pancakes. So, when I was invited for the Bánh xèo promotion at Syn, Taj Deccan, I was curious to know more.

Bánh xèo
Bánh xèo

I loved the idea that Syn was doing a promotion just with a niche dish within a not so familiar cuisine. Executive Chef Rishi Manocha has picked up a popular dish from the Vietnamese stable and presented many variations of the same.

On the appointed day, a small group of bloggers and people from the media assembled at the restaurant. Chef Rishi explained that Bánh xèo is essentially a street food in Vietnam, where bean sprouts are often used as part of fillings. The pancakes can be of various sizes, the sweeter ones are usually small. The limited menu had four vegetarian and non-vegetarian items each, and we were asked to order among the same. Given a choice of four non-veg dishes, I picked the Pancake with Tenderloin Rendang.

Tenderloin Rendang Pancake
Inside the Tenderloin Rendang Pancake

We were told that Vietnamese fried pancakes are similar in looks to our stuffed masala dosas – folded and served with a range of chutneys. However, the similarity ends there. Ingredients of pancakes, fillings, as well as the dips are actually completely different – so comparing both would be the same as comparing apples and oranges. The pancakes have rice flour and turmeric among its ingredients, whereas the fillings have veggies, meat or prawns. One of the sauces normally is a sweet and sour fish sauce, soya being another popular dip.

It took a little bit of time for the pancake to arrive. We were advised to eat with our hands, the Indian way seems to be the Vietnamese way too. I am no fan of sprouts, mainly because of being forced to eat at home for good health. However, the soft and spicy beef rendang pieces made it up, especially with the sweet and sour fish sauce which won over the Bengali in me. I followed it up with the baby shrimp pancake, which was almost the same with prawns replacing the beef pieces giving it a seafood flavour.

My vegetarian friend had a preparation with Bamboo Shoots and Tofu, and he seemed to have loved it. The other three in the vegetarian menu were Mushroom and Aged Ginger, Asparagus and Water Chestnut, and Corn and Lotus Roots.

Experimental foodies will love this promotion which is on till the month-end. It may be a good idea to try it out as an evening snack or not-so-heavy meal. The veg pancakes are Rs 375 each whereas the non-veg preparation ranges from Rs 405-450.

Syn Asian Grill & Bar
Taj Deccan
Banjara Hills, Hyderabad
Telephone: 66523939

Disclaimer: The review is based on an invite from the restaurant. However, the opinion expressed in the post are honest and unbiased.

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