The FAQ today is: “How many types of rice paper are there in Vietnam? And how do the Vietnamese use rice paper?”
The main material is usually rice flour (many places use cassava, corn, mung beans ... or mixed together) moderate to liquid phase with water. There is a little tapioca flour with a reasonable proportion so that our “banh trang” has more flexibility, less breakage and easy to be thin, if mixed with cassava flour (cassava) will make it sour. There are also other additives such as sesame, salt, pepper, garlic, coconut, onion, sugar ... depending on the type of rice paper.
“Banh trang” literally means the method to make it is to spreading (trang) the mixture to create a very thin layer.
A "Banh trang" station in Vietnam. Source: Internet.
The processes of all kinds of rice paper are the same for the first part.The step making the difference is after steaming.
Bánh tráng thường - The common rice paper
This is the kind of rice paper you often in the Vietnam restaurants.
It often comes with the round shape, very thin layer, and the pattern of the cross net. People use the method of sun-dry to make it so it is very thin but easy to be broken that is the reason why we often slightly soak it through water before rolling anything.
One of the common ways to enjoy rice paper - roll with veggie and boiled pork. Source: Internet.
For the young people, “banh trang tron” is eaten as a snack. We mix rice paper with salt, sate oil, herbs, garlic, jerky, mango, peanuts, chili, quail eggs, butter,... which sounds a bit complicated and weird but I believe you will love it after the first bite.
One kind of "Banh trang tron" - favorite snack of the young people in Vietnam. Source: Internet.
One more creative way to have this kind of rice paper is to slightly grill it on a warm coal station with some green onions, whipped quail eggs, shrimps...
Some people call it “Vietnamese pizza” but I believe this kind of grill rice paper is not so similar to western pizza as the method of making, the ingredients, and the occasions for enjoying it.
Bánh tráng phơi sương
Another kind of rice paper is “Banh trang phoi suong”. In order to create this kind, people use sun-dry technique and also let “banh trang” exposed to the dew of the midnight or early morning. Only by applying this method, do rice papers have unique soft and chewy texture. We do not need to soak it like the first type.
The “banh trang” makers have to stay up all night to check constantly if it gain the ideal soft and chewy level because leave it outside for too long can lead to unsuccessful “banh trang phoi suong”.
The nearly mid-night dawn of the "Banh trang phoi suong" makers. Source: Internet.
Bánh ướt/bánh cuốn
The local do not consider these two as rice paper but actually their ingredients are just the same. However, after being steamed, people will add a little chopped pork and fungus, and enjoy it with fish sauce.
People in Vietnam can have Banh cuon as breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. Source: Internet.
The last type of rice paper is the grilled one. This kind of “banh trang” is created with a fuller, thicker layer so after sun-drying it becomes hard. All we have to do is to grill carefully to make it crunchy without burning down it.
The raw "Banh da". Source: Internet.
After grilling the rice paper, you can enjoy it alone as a snack or combine it with other dish having stronger flavour.
The baby mussels salad can be a suitable dish to eat along with “banh da”. Source: Tiger Tours
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