Dining at DaNang Kitchen? Start with banh khot tom trung ca, the fusion crispy shrimp mini cakes. Whether you’re hitting the family-owned BYOB Vietnamese spot, which opened on Argyle in December 2019, for mi quang tom thit (a savory bright-yellow soup loaded with flat noodles, tender pork belly, shrimp, quail eggs, greens, and crispy roasted almond-rice crackers) or com ga hai nam (comforting turmeric chicken and rice with vibrant ginger fish sauce and pickles), you’re going to want to prime your palate with these crispy cakes.
Made with a batter of rice flour, cornstarch, turmeric, and coconut milk, the banh khot tom trung ca come decked out with scallions, a whole shrimp, and — owner Sydney Le’s inspired touch — a dollop of fish roe, which makes the whole thing pop. To eat, tuck one of the two-bite cakes and some of the fresh herbs, like Thai basil, into a lettuce leaf. Then dunk it into the piquant lime-chile fish sauce. The resulting bite features a cascade of flavors and textures — tangy and salty, crisp and tender, briny and herbal. With six cakes per order, it’s an easy dish to share and makes for a very satisfying start to the meal. $14. 1019 W. Argyle St., Uptown