Banh Bot Loc

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These eye-catching tidbits are Vietnamese Bánh Bột Lọc Gói Lá Chuôi; like most Asian dumplings, they’re at home as an appetizer or a snack.

Filled with shrimp and pork belly, they’re prepared by steaming or boiling and they come in two variants: the filling for Bánh Bột Lọc Gói Lá Chuôi is covered in a translucent tapioca starch batter and wrapped in a banana leaf prior to steaming; Bánh Bột Lọc Tran calls for a firmer dough and doesn’t require a shrouding leaf. (Sort of like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before they sampled the forbidden fruit. But I digress.)

Their texture is noteworthy: they’re chewy from the tapioca and crispy because the shrimp are still dressed in their shells – but don’t be put off by that: the shrimp are small so the shells are thin.

Revealing closeup.

This batch came from Bánh Mì Cô Út at 83 Elizabeth St in Manhattan’s Chinatown.