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Shrimp Fried Pancake Ho Tay: A must-try Hanoi street food

Published on September 18, 2019 by Anna Ngan

Shrimp fried pancake Ho Tay ( Banh Tom Ho Tay) is one of the dishes that represents the essence of Hanoi cuisine. This kind of street food makes visitors passionate and reminds them of its unique flavor whenever they take a visit to Hanoi.

Therefore, anytime referring to shrimp fried pancakes, the majority of people immediately think of the name banh tom Ho Tay.

The short story of Shrimp fried pancake

In the 1930s, small street vendors selling the golden crispy fish cakes began congregating along Thanh Nien Street. They gradually gained hype throughout the capital. In 1956, the government decided to combine many of the stalls and opened one big restaurant along the waterfront.

Since then, the restaurant has been a single fixture restaurant on Thanh Nien Street, a road that separates West Lake (Tay Ho) and Truc Bach Lake.

For decades, the shrimp fried pancake has been the sole dish on the menu. Only in recent years, other options were added. Despite more variety in choice, almost every single customer will order a serving of the iconic dish without fail.

When visitors travel to Vietnam, they should not miss the chance to visit Hanoi and enjoy shrimp fried pancake. This kind of food is available almost everywhere in the country, but it is the best to have it in Hanoi.

West Lake shrimp fried pancake is famous for its scrumptious fried shrimp patties. It contains not only unforgettable flavor but the soul of Hanoi people.

How to make a shrimp fried pancake

A shrimp fried pancake is a simple combination of flour, tapioca flour, salt, pepper, sugar, water potato and fresh shrimp. The cakes are deep- fried in oil to have nice look and good taste.

Then, they are left to reduce fat and served with sweet and sour fish sauce, salads and slices of carrot and green papaya.

Like many dishes of Vietnam, the sauce of shrimp fried pancakes makes them delicious or not. The cake is soft, salty, sour with spicy taste and sweet-smelling.

How to serve the dish

Shrimp fried pancake will always contain the same three core ingredients: fresh shrimp, shredded sweet potato and wheat flour. All are then fried in piping hot cooking oil.

Try to serve banh tom when it’s still hot with sour, sweet, spicy fish sauce, green papaya and carrot slices. You should enjoy it by rolling a piece of shrimp cake and some herbs in a lettuce leaf, and dip into the sauce.

That is truly the way to enjoy the dish. You can feel the light sweet, crispy and fatty taste of the cake. You will find it better when enjoying it with cold beer.

Shrimp fried pancake is suitable for cold days and fits in windy afternoons at West lake. It might be great to ride around the lake and come to a nice restaurant to enjoy shrimp fried cakes in a beautiful scene.

Why shrimp fried pancakes are special in Hanoi

The interest difference of this food is that local people catch shrimps only from West lake. Shrimp fried pancake is fried pastry topped with the red shrimp imbedded on the crust.

The red shrimps to make banh tom netted in nearby West Lake and only red shrimps from this lake can bring the best flavor for a delicious dish of banh tom.

People say that fresh shrimps caught in the West Lake to nearby famous restaurants are always bustling. The shrimps are covered with wheat flour, potato and shrimp patties.

This makes shrimps have enough taste of mild, firm, and sweet meat to make delicious pancakes.

Especially, the enjoyable savor of brittle crust, aroma of fried shrimps and spicy sauce would stimulate your appetite. Looking at the shrimp sauce, you will see the coordinated mixture of color.

The yellow cake mixed with the red shrimp highlights on the background of the white porcelain enamel and the green salad.

A shrimp cake is also special for its secret blend of spices. Dip the cake in Vietnamese beloved fish sauce. Add chili and lime juice. Then pair it with fresh salad and fragrant mint leaves. That’s the full shrimp cake experience.

Where to enjoy it

These days, has shrimp fried pancakes have been updated and re-imagined by many upscale, contemporary restaurants. However, Banh Tom Ho Tay remains one of the go-to places for those who seek out the authentic version.

The restaurant Banh Tom Ho Tay on Thanh Nien Street is an ideal place to try this food. It’s a large restaurant with indoor and outdoor tables on terrace at the West Lake.

Enjoying the shrimp pancake in the open air and mild wind from the Westlake seems to be tastier. Hanoi people are naturally skillful in processing plenty of delicious dishes, but perhaps only the shrimp pancake remains its traditional flavor.

There are some other food shops also serving shrimp cakes. But this restaurant is the most crowded one thanks to its good quality and reasonable price. The price is about 70,000 VND for a large dish of cakes.

Although the appeal of anything battered and fried is good enough for most people to eat banh tom regularly, Banh Tom Ho Tay’s history and secret blend of spices gives its beloved shrimp cake a certain charm that no one else could replicate.

Banh Tom Ho Tay restaurant is No. 1 Thanh Nien, Truc Bach, Ba Dinh, Hanoi.


Hanoi’s street food scene might be overwhelming with its mixture of smells and tastes. But it is well worth exploring because it is one of the freshest, healthiest and most flavorful cuisines in the world.

Although the appeal of anything battered and fried is good enough for most people to eat a dish regularly, shrimp fried pancake has a certain charm that no one else could replicate.

Banh Tom Ho Tay remains a special place for many Hanoi people as the restaurant is largely known as one of the oldest and more authentic spots to serve up the dish.


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