White Rose or banh vac in Vietnamese is a dumpling stuffed with shrimp and spices and then steamed in a shrimp broth. The resulting taste is delicate and just a little bit sweet, the dumplings are topped with fried onions giving it a little crunch and saltiness. A foreign tourist coined the name “White Rose” when he visited Hoi An and enjoyed the dumpling. Restaurant owners liked this name and decided to adopt it. After that, the dumpling started to appear in restaurants under the name White Rose rather than banh vac.
The dumplings look simple but the process of making it is not as easy as it looks. Using white rice from the Mekong Delta, cooks grind the rice, mix it with water and filter it 15-20 times. Then the dough is kneaded and rolled thin and cut into dumpling sized circles. The filling is made of minced peeled shrimps that are mixed with spices. Portions of the mixture are placed in the center of each circle of dough, and then the dough is closed around the mixture like the petals of a rose. After being steamed for 10 or 15 minutes, White Rose is served with a sauce made of shrimp broth, a bit of chilly, lemon and sugar. The cake is fragrant, sweet and chilli hot.
White Rose dumplings are a a specialty of Hoi An and we have not found them anywhere else. It is said that if visitors have not eaten White Rose dumplings they have not yet enjoyed the taste of the ancient town.