Vietnamese Pig’s Ear Biscuits – Banh Tai Heo

Vietnamese pig’s ear biscuits are one of those snacks that every Vietnamese kid will remember eating growing up. They are traditionally shaped like “pig’s ears” and have a distinct light and dark swirl pattern. These biscuits pair perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee but be warned… they are highly addictive and virtually impossible to eat quietly!

My mum have been making these biscuits since forever. Her recipe originated from the Galang refugee camp in Indonesia where they spent a few months after escaping the Vietnam war. In the camp they were given a few basics to cook with. Some of these ingredients included flour, water, sugar and desiccated coconut. If there is one thing my mum is good at, it is making something with whatever was on hand. So she made these biscuits because they were easy to make and more importantly kept for a long time.


According to mum, these biscuits are originally made with simply flour, sugar and water. But like with all things, over time everyone develops their own variations. A popular one I have seen on the internet includes adding cocoa to the brown dough to really make the colour pop. I was meant to try it out with the last batch I made but I accidentally forgot. However, it won’t be too long till I need to make some more since they have been my source of comfort as I watch my beloved Aussie cricket team get hammered by the Indians.


My Tips for Success

  1. It’s important the dough stays in the right shape. Hold the dough as it is shown the picture when cutting or else the dough may move out of shape.
  2. Cut the dough by using the blade in a sawing motion. Don’t press straight down with the knife or it will deform the dough.
  3. Add the sesame seeds to the dough before rolling. If you add them after they may fall out while frying.
  4. If you are finding it hard to cut the biscuits, put the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours. This will harden it up and make it much easier to cut.
  5. After cutting the dough, flatten out the biscuits with a rolling pin. The flatter the dough the crispier the biscuits, however the spiral pattern will also become more smudged. So, find your happy medium with a few trial attempts.
  6. Desiccated coconut rather than shredded coconut is best for this recipe since it is finer so it won’t catch on the dough as you move the knife through.
  7. These biscuits may not colour initially in the cooking process, however they can brown very quickly towards the end so be careful.

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Vietnamese Pig Ear Biscuits

Vietnamese Pig Ear Biscuits - Banh Tai Heo

Course Snack
Cuisine Vietnamese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 40 Biscuits
Author Scruff


  • canola or vegetable oil for deep frying (approx 2 cm deep)
  • plain flour for dusting

White Dough

  • 150 gm plain flour
  • 4 tbsp warm water
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

Dark Dough

  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp warm water
  • 20 gm desiccated coconut
  • 150 gm plain flour
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the white dough ingredients together then knead for 3 minutes. Leave aside.

  2. In a small bowl, add the sugar and water then microwave for 30 seconds. Stir with a spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved.

  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining dark dough ingredients with the sugar mixture. Knead for 2 minutes.

  4. Using a rolling pin, flatten out each dough type into a rectangle of roughly 10 x 25 cm.

  5. Lay the white dough on the bottom. Pour 1/2 tsp of water on top and rub it in with your hands. 

  6. Lay the dark dough on top of the white dough. Pour 1/2 tsp of water over the top and rub it in with your hands

  7. With your fingers or a rolling pin, flatten out the top 3 cm of the dough.

  8. Roll the dough into a cylinder from the bottom up. 

  9. Dust a cutting board with a little bit of flour and cut the dough into slices with a width of less then 0.5 cm.

  10. Dust the dough slices with a little flour and flatten them out with a rolling pin.

  11. Deep fry in batches on medium heat until golden (approx 3 - 4 mins).

11 thoughts on “Vietnamese Pig’s Ear Biscuits – Banh Tai Heo

  1. Hi! My mom made these all the time when we were kids. One of my favorites! We were refugees at the Galang camp in 1979. Where were you guys there? I never hear anyone mentioning the camp. So glad to connect with s fellow refugee!

    1. Hi! Yeh, my mum and dad ended up at Galang refugee camp after being rescued by an oil tanker in 1979 as well! Lucky for us, we had a lovely old catholic couple sponsored us to come to Australia where we have stayed ever since. I wonder how many refugees went through that camp? We are also glad to here that you have made it out fine. Thank you for dropping by.

      1. It’s so nice to hear from Galang refugees. We were in Galang during 1979 as well.

    1. Hi Sophie! Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and your family! I have seen a few recipes that say baking is an option but I have never tried it myself. It would definitely be a healthier option and probably well worth a try! Thanks for dropping by Sophie!

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