Vietnamese banh cuon is different from the rice rolls found at Chinese dim sum, cheong fun, because the banh cuon crepe is extremely thin and delicate and not topped with sweet soy sauce. The reason for this thinness is the process of how it’s made. Banh cuon can be made extremely thin because it’s steamed over a fabric covered pot which can quickly cook the rice flour, keeping it moist and workable.
It is a roll made from a thin, wide sheet of steamed rice batter filled with seasoned ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and minced shallots. Sides for this dish usually consist of chả lụa (Vietnamese pork sausage) and bean sprouts, with the dipping sauce called nước chấm. Sometimes, a drop of cà cuống, which is the essence of a giant water bug, Lethocerus indicus, is added to the nước chấm for extra flavor, although this ingredient is scarce and quite expensive.
The rice sheet in bánh cuốn is extremely thin and delicate. It is a light dish, and is generally eaten for breakfast everywhere in Vietnam.