Cuisine is one of the highlights that attracts tourists when visiting Vietnam. There are plenty of food that leave the deep impression on visitors who have tried once including rice paper – a popular Vietnamese street food.
Mixed Rice Paper (Banh trang tron)
Mixed rice paper (bánh tráng trộn) is a Vietnamese street food made with local authentic ingredients. You can find it on almost every street corner around Ho Chi Minh City; from schools and universities to small, inconspicuous alleyways. Just look for ladies in conical hats, with their stalls displaying a set of colorful jars and a big bag of rice paper.
The dish is easy to make and its flavor is very unique. Long strips of rice paper, some julienned green mango, one or two boiled quail eggs, shredded beef jerky and grilled dried squid are combined in a big bowl and seasoned with shrimp salt, chilli powder and fried onion. A couple of teaspoons of vegetable oil and a little beef sauce are also poured in, and topped with roasted peanuts and coriander. The preparation is completed by adding some drops of kumquat juice to boost the fragrance of the dish. Then the ingredients are mixed until they become a delicious salad.
Salt rice paper (banh trang muoi)
For those who prefer the crunchy texture of rice paper and are not into sweet and sour food, salt rice paper (bánh tráng muối) is the perfect choice! It can be found in local markets, school canteens, roadside stalls and many small general shops.
This snack is quite similar to mixed rice paper, but its ingredients are a little simpler; this snack only contains rice paper, shrimp salt, vegetable oil, chilli powder and fried onion. The most exciting part of eating this snack is that you make each serving on your own. After taking everything out of the bag, you must lay a sheet of rice paper on a clean surface, and then start putting in the ingredients. Finally, you will roll it into a tubular shape. Once finished rolling, it’s ready to eat!
Grilled rice paper ( banh trang nuong)
Originating from the highland Dalat City, grilled rice paper (bánh tráng nướng) made its way to Ho Chi Minh City a few years ago, and has been spreading to the center and north of Vietnam. Many young Vietnamese people fall in love with this food and eat it as a favorite after-school treat. You can find the most grilled rice paper vendors around Turtle Lake and at the park next to the Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City.
It is a sheet of rice paper grilled over coals, and lightly topped with a variety of ingredients. Rice paper and quail eggs are the main ingredients. Common toppings include chopped green onions in oil, cheese, stir-fried ground meat, sausage and chilli powder. It is arguably the best and easiest to prepare grilled snack!
Rice paper in tamarind sauce (banh trang me)
Unlike other street food made from crunchy sun-dried rice paper, this delicacy from Tay Ninh Province uses a different type, soft rice paper (bánh tráng phơi sương). Rice paper is first dried under the sun and baked over fire for a while and then put out in the cool and humid night to soften the paper. This process creates thousands of tiny bubbles on the surface.
The way of eating this food is also different from the others. Instead of mixing all of the ingredients together, you must first put the tamarind sauce in a separate bowl, add some fried onion, chili and roasted peanuts as toppings, and then roll or tear some rice paper, and dip it into the sauce. Although rice paper in tamarind sauce is not as popular as other rice paper snacks, many local people are addicted to the unique chewy texture and its distinctive sour.
Shaken rice paper (banh trang lac)
Made from shrimp and sesame rice sheets, shaken rice paper (bánh tráng lắc) involves deep-frying rice paper so that it becomes enlarged and crispy. Then it is placed inside a paper bag along with cheese powder, and shaken well.
This tasty street food is the perfect match for sweet and sour salads.
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