Grilled Vietnamese rice ‘pizza’ the talk of the town
One simply cannot talk about Da Nang treats without mentioning its renowned rice paper sandwich ( banh trang kep ) and grilled rice paper ( banh trang nuong ).
Grilled rice paper or Vietnamese pizza is a popular dish throughout central and southern Vietnam, including in Da Nang City, nearby Quang Ngai Province, Da Lat Town, and Saigon.
In particular, the dish is jazzed up and prepared in different styles in Da Nang, making it all the more appealing. Among these many styles, grilled rice “pizza” with a runny fried egg is a favorite for many.
Grilled rice ‘pizza’ topped with a sunny-side up egg. Photo courtesy of nothingtoeat.
To enjoy this intriguing combination, swing by an eatery named Co Ty on Le Ngo Cat Street in Da Nang’s Thanh Khe District. Not many tourists know of this location but it is a go-to spot for young locals.
The menu features nine dishes, of which seven are grilled rice “pizzas” with different toppings. Other dishes are cowfish and grilled squid.
The eatery, at the intersection of Le Ngo Cat and Dao Duy Tu streets, is an affordable local joint tucked deep inside an alley. Low stools and tables are scattered about, perfect for small afternoon gatherings with friends. The eatery is small and cozy even though there are many seats. It is open daily from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and always teeming with customers.
Pizza toppings mainly revolve around familiar ingredients such as pate, quail egg, beef jerky, chili sauce, and scallions. Despite these ordinary ingredients, the pizzas are prepared in different ways that render them interesting and unique.
For rolled rice paper crepes, pate, egg, and beef jerky are available as toppings. The chewy rice wafer is then grilled with the topping. Once done, the treat has a delicious smokiness and chewy bite to it.
For a rice “pizza”, the chosen toppings are laid onto triangular cuts grilled the traditional Da Lat way. The crispy texture makes it an absolute treat.
Lastly, the eatery’s signature is a rice “pizza” topped with pate, beef jerky, and grilled scallions. The quail egg is added towards the end, completing the dish.
Typically, the snack is dipped into sweet and sour sauce or shrimp paste. The sweet and sour sauce tastes similar to tamarind sauce and does not have a strong smell. However, shrimp paste is the popular choice. A serving costs VND6000VND ($0.3).
Spread of ingredients for rice paper crepes and “pizzas”. Photo courtesy of nothingtoeat.
The dish is a delight in the mouth with the jerky’s chewy, savory flavor, the scallions’ aromatic scent, the fatty, meaty taste of pate, and the creaminess of the yolk.
Make sure you eat it right by dipping it in the sauces. The rice paper treat, being thin and crunchy, has generated a lot of hype amongst local youth. The dish tastes best when still hot.
If you are still looking for a weekend activity, head straight to the eatery for hot rice “pizza” and a refreshing cup of iced tea or fizzy drink. You can also order in advance if planning a dinner with friends or a large group.
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