Like most street-side "restaurants" in Hanoi, seating consists of often second-hand plastic stools pulled up around a portable burner over which the cook steams, simmers, or grills their specialty.
The cook starts by spreading a thin layer of rice-flour batter on top of a fine-mesh screen set inside an aluminum steamer.
After covering and steaming for about 30 seconds, the lid is lifted. By this point, the rice flour has cooked into a cohesive sheet.
Using a single bamboo stick, the cook carefully lifts the set Bánh Cuốn from the steamer and transfers it to a plate for stuffing.
The filling of choice is traditional: ground pork cooked together with wood ear mushrooms.
Plated and Served
A few generous slices of traditional Vietnamese pork terrine—like a cinnamon-scented mortadella—come on the side along with a small bowl of a sweet fish sauce and a lime juice-based sauce crammed full of aromatic fried shallots. Like most Vietnamese street food, the bánh cuốn comes with a handful of fresh herbs (sweet basil and cilantro).