Sweet potato and shrimp are used in many different culinary culture but the combination of the two is taken to another level in Vietnamese cuisine. Sweet potato shrimp fritters or Banh Tom is a unison of savory and mouthful yet light and fresh taste that. Visiting Hanoi, try Banh Tom once not only for its delightful taste but also for better understanding of the Vietnamese cuisine and culture.
During 1970-1980, there was a Banh Tom restaurant located on Thanh Nien Street, alongside Truc Bach lake. At the time, the place was a little get-together and entertainment spot for young Hanoians. As time passes, Banh Tom has become a beautiful nostalgia for many generations.
Nearing the end of 1980s, the enhanced quality of life led to an intensive grow of various different services and restaurants. Today, there are many restaurants around West Lake that also make banh tom. Tourists should keep an eye out for the authentic one.
Its way of preparing is rather simple. Fresh shrimps caught in the West Lake is covered with wheat flour, then fried with oil. It is eaten with sweet, sour and spicy fish sauce, vegetable pickles for best taste. Besides, it can also be served with salads and vermicelli. The cake is brittle, soft and sweet-smelling; therefore, it is really an appropriate dish for drinking beer.
Many banh tom food stalls can be found around Hanoi
Sweet potato is shredded up and mixed with a flour batter. A whole shrimp is placed on top and the fritter is deep-fried in oil. When I say 'a whole shrimp', I mean a whole shrimp - head included. The Vietnamese eat the shell, tail, and head. This might seem off-putting, but the crunchiness of the shell adds to the overall texture of the dish.
The orange color is from the natural flesh of sweet potato and a little bit of turmeric powder in the batter. Often served as an appetizer, banh tom is commonly wrapped with lettuce, herbs, and pickled vegetables and dipped in nuoc mam cham (fish sauce).
A portion of banh tom alongside with a plate of herbs and lettuce in the middle of the dinner table and a bowl of fish sauce for each person. A table of banh tom represents a unison of color and taste. Yellow from the fritters adding to the striking redness of the shrimp plus the fresh green color of lettuce and the refreshing light smell of the herbs.
Banh Tom West Lake is a shelter from the rain and for people seeking for a spot of relaxation and good view from the lake. Hence, centuries have gone by and banh tom has become a cultural and culinary icon contributing to the uniqueness of Vietnam.
Every year there are thousands of tourists visiting Hanoi and getting scammed by the rise of various unauthentic banh tom restaurant and people pushing the price. So I’m here today to assist you on the journey to the most delicious authentic banh tom with a reasonable price.
Banh Tom Ho Tay
Banh Tom Hang Bo:
Banh Tom Hang Bo – Dinh Ngang:
If you are a food lover, you should try this dish. You will have the local taste of Hanoi.
Hesitate no more, just book a Street Food Tour with AZ Local Trip, our guide will not only guide you on food, but also give you the information around the old quarter, or near West lake.
Places to visit when your tummy is full and happy:
Tran Quoc Pagoda is right across the street from Banh Tom Ho Tay on Thanh Nien Street. Tourists usually come by after a full meal course at Banh Tom Ho Tay.
Truc Bach Lake is a short walkable distance away from Banh Tom Ho Tay with a great view and cool winds for you to relax and take pictures.