Da Nang is home to the biggest banh xeo, or crispy pancake, ever made in Vietnam. White & Wong's Brian Choi shares his recipe, inspired by his time in the seaside city.

I had heard about the dish banh xeo, but it was lost in the sea of flavour in Southeast Asia. However, this changed as my family began to travel more.

I love travel, especially with my wife. I find when travelling with her I explore a new side of her as a friend, as a human being, and as my partner in life.

Brian Choi's recipe for banh xeo is a family favourite. Photo / Supplied
Brian Choi's recipe for banh xeo is a family favourite. Photo / Supplied

We did travel before we got married, however our best experiences came afterwards. I have some priceless memories discovering this side of her - and now I have two girls who can join in on sharing these unforgettable experiences with us as a family.

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The first destination we visited together was Da Nang in Vietnam. For most of our holiday travel, the plan is always to try as many dishes as we can that are known and loved by locals, and to try to experience the authenticity of the local markets.

Out of all the food we tried, banh xeo left the strongest impression. It is also known as a crispy savoury pancake, widely believed to be of French origin, introduced during their occupation of Vietnam. I chose to share this dish with you because it's tasty, simple and ingrained in Vietnamese history.

- Brian Choi is the head chef at White and Wong's, in Westfield Newmarket, Auckland.

Banh xeo

Banh xeo is a crispy savoury pancake widely believed to be of French origin, introduced during their occupation of Vietnam. Photo / Getty Images
Banh xeo is a crispy savoury pancake widely believed to be of French origin, introduced during their occupation of Vietnam. Photo / Getty Images

This is a family favourite and I hope you enjoy it as much as we have, from my family to yours.

Nuoc mam sauce

4 Tbsps of fish sauce
4 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp carrot brunoise (finely diced and fried in butter)
1/2 a green chilli (seeded)

Pancake mix

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1/2 cup flour
A pinch of salt
A pinch of ground white pepper
1/2 a cup of coconut milk
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Chopped spring onion to garnish

Filling

Six cocktail prawns per person
50g beef mince
200g bean sprouts
50g sliced squid tubes

Wrapping

Iceberg lettuce leaves or rice paper rolls.

Make the sauce first, mixing all the ingredients together.
Then make the pancake by combining all the ingredients. Pour the mixture into an oiled pan on medium heat and cook just like a regular pancake.
Cook the filling next, frying the prawns until pink, the squid until it's firm, and brown the beef mince. The bean sprouts can be cooked or left fresh.
Combine the ingredients, wrap in a pancake, then wrap again in either rice paper or lettuce to finish. Enjoy!