Small packages As with a lot of other Vietnamese street foods, banh khot can make you feel virtuous and healthy because they're eaten with such a large quantity of fresh vegetables and herbs. They're often called Vietnamese pancakes, and take the form of half-spheres. The rice-flour batter is flavoured with turmeric and coconut milk, and poured into a special pan with half-sphere indentations (similar to a takoyaki pan). While the little pancakes cook, other ingredients - small shrimp, spring onions, mung beans and fried garlic - are added. When ready, the thin, delicately crisp banh khot are taken from the pan, put on a plate and served with lettuce leaves, fresh herbs and nuoc cham dipping sauce. You dip the banh khot in the sauce, put it on a lettuce leaf, add the herbs and pop the whole parcel into your mouth. They're best when piping hot because they get soggy as they cool.
Banh khot are a speciality of south Vietnam (I have eaten them in Hanoi, but they weren't very good). In coastal areas, vendors often top them with other types of seafood, in addition to the shrimp.
Banh khot don't seem to be available in Hong Kong - at least, not on any menus I've seen. Fortunately, the flight from Hong Kong to Saigon is just a few hours - and this is a great time of year to visit.