What makes this place stand out from the thousands of pau shops in Saigon? Paus aka Bánh Bao were introduced to the people of Vietnam via 1000 years of Chinese rule. Most if not all savory paus in Vietnam contain a filling composed of pork, onions, chinese sausage and 1/4 of an boiled egg. Ông Cả Cần's paus were famous for containing a quail egg in the center instead of the usual boiled chicken egg. His paus were also bigger than the others.
Bà Năm Sa Đéc, a famous actress made a business selling Cả Cần Style Paus after she retired from the stage. They were a huge hit and the name still carries on today. Although I'm not sure if Bà Năm Sa Đéc still owns the place or not.
Besides their famous paus, they also offer Hủ Tiếu (pictured left).
So how did the food taste? Eh....I have to say I was kind of disappointed. There was nothing bad about the food it just didn't blow me away. I guess my expectations were a bit too high.
Most premixed Vietnamese pau flour sold out there promise you'll be able to make Cả Cần paus with their flour. So there must be something special about Cả Cần paus for people to want to imitate them so much. Whatever that something is....I didn't see or taste it that day. The dough was dense and had a noticeable hint of ammonia, which tells me...it was improperly done. What do I mean? Ammonia (baking ammonia) evaporates under heat, releasing co2. The co2 is captured by the gluten in the dough which the final product soft, light and fluffy. The noticeable hint of ammonia suggests too much ammonia was added, so much more then what's needed. Secondly the thick dense dough tells me that the dough wasn't kneaded enough.
But anyways, if you're ever in Saigon and are around An Dong market, stop Bánh Bao Cả Cần for a taste and tell me what you think.
6:22 PM | Category: | 14 comments