Bánh khoái is one of the signature dishes of Thừa Thiên Huế Province. Bánh is a kind of cake or food made of rice powder or paste; and khoái means “smoke”, some say, or “enjoyable”, the others explain. I guess both of the explanations make sense to me but I prefer the latter so now I give bánh khoái an English name “happy pancake”.
People who lives by Chuồn Lagoon make bánh khoái with liquid rice paste mixed with tapioca powder and added in from bean sprout and shallot to shrimp, squid or fish (especially cá kình). Between the 4th month and 7th month of lunar new year, there is cá kình, a type of small and flat fish growing in brackish water of the lagoons around Thừa Thiên Huế. This fish has been many local people’s favorite. I guess that’s because it tastes very good and it’s only seasonable. When you eat cá kình, you can eat everything, from its flesh to its bone and even its intestines. People say cá kình’s intestine can help with good sleep. And of course, I trust them as I always sleep like a log later that night after having some happy pancakes with cá kình. If you are still in doubt, give it a try.
The Chuồn villagers seem to have their happy pancakes only in the morning, around 5 so be an early riser if you want to try this delectable seasonal dish.