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Banh Tom - Shrimp Pan Cake

Visitors to Hanoi would eagerly go to West Lake to enjoy the shrimp fried pancake, a speciality of the place. One enjoyment could leave a great impression. The reason is not only in shrimp pancake itself, but also in the beautiful scene at West Lake.

The best time to enjoy shrimp pancake at West Lake is at sunset in summer. The pink shrimp (from the West Lake fresh water) on light brown crackers and the sweet, sour and spicy sauce all remind you of the aroma of the countryside. There at the West Lake, a diner could take each bite of the cake accompanied by a drink of cold beer, and enjoy the nice smell coming from the stove and the cool wind blowing from the lake. Now, you may seek somewhere in your memory the fairy tale about the Golden Buffalo who, on the way to look for his lost mother, created the West Lake.

Shrimp fried pancakes have become familiar with school boys and girls. Before parting for summer holidays, they usually gather to have shrimp pancake at West Lake. Now, a big restaurant has replaced the vendors. The industrial modern life has wiped out the image of the former vendors who prepared the pancake right on the pavement with the dinners sitting around waiting for a hot cake. The fun of watching the vendor making the cake and enjoying the West Lake scene have gone but no one now bother looking for them again. The Hanoians now are used to sitting at the table, drinking beer and having the cake prepared by the restaurant. Perhaps for the experienced Hanoians, the method of selling is not so important as the quality of the shrimp fried pancake.

The shrimp fried pancake of West Lake now still keeps its traditional flavour and taste: hot, cracker cake dipped in skillfully made sauce which is sweet, sour and spicy.


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