No. 3 Banh Bot Loc

April 6, 2022

 As we come to an even lesser-known dish, we have strayed away from the soups (no, I will not be talking about bun rieu, another popular Vietnamese noodle soup that I simply cannot bring myself to like). Banh bot loc is a type of clear dumpling that is steamed and filled. 

My favorite preparation of the dish and one that I insist is the only proper way to eat banh bot loc, is to have the dish steamed and wrapped in banana leaf. Most commonly, the filling consists of pork and shrimp and is served with the delicious dipping sauce, nuoc mam (fish sauce). 

Again, this is another dish that I did not dare to try. It was another missed opportunity as a child due to my negative attitude toward trying new foods. 

It is pertinent to note that a factor in my hesitancy or disfavor towards trying new foods was a result of the stigmatizition of traditional Vietnamese foods that were uncommon in the United States. Banh bot loc, accompanied by fish sauce, was labeled as “stinky” or “alien food” because of the physical characteristics of the dish. 

At first appearance, the dish is gelatinous and very visibly different from common American foods, leading to the ostracization of such foods that could be labeled as “otherly.” 

Despite preconceived notions, society in the United States has grown to be more accepting of foods of different cultures as they become mainstream. Pho and bun bo hue are prime examples of this and I can’t wait for banh bot loc to be common enough that I do not have to make a nearly two-hour drive in order to satiate my appetite. 

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