Bánh Tráng Nướng
Bánh tráng nướng (grilled rice paper), a street food snack consisting of grilled rice paper with various toppings, has become a “classic” street food snack. During the Đổi Mới reforms in the 1980s, this street food snack became very popular. Việt Nam was virtually bankrupted by the decade-long war that ensued. As a result, quick and inexpensive food sprouts up on every corner.
Today, Sài Gòn is buzzing with friendly faces, a vibrant social scene, and some of the world’s best (and cheapest) street food. Many tourists flee to other parts of Việt Nam because of the rowdy crowds and motorcycle-clogged roadways. That, however, would be a grave mistake. If you take the time to look around, you’ll find a city full of character, attitude, and delectable cuisine.
Bánh tráng nướng has become a favourite snack among schoolchildren and tourists sold by street vendors who usually park their little trolleys outside schools and parks with a stack of tiny brightly coloured plastic chairs. It’s like junk food for kids; local adults didn’t use to eat it in the past, but it’s becoming increasingly popular among foreigners. Due to its popularity, tourists have given this delicious street food snack “creative” names such as Vietnamese pizza, taco, quesadilla, and grilled pancake, just to name a few.
This invention of a street snack first appeared in Đà Lạt and has since become one of Sài Gòn‘s newest and most popular street meals. Traditionally, bánh tráng nướng mè are large, round, thick rice crackers with sesame seeds, which can easily be shattered into smaller pieces after it has been grilled. They can be eaten separately, although they are most commonly added to the vermicelli noodle dishes like cao lầ and mì quản.
With this new creation, the rice paper is topped with beaten quail eggs, minced pork, dried shrimp or fermented shrimp paste, fried shallots, pork floss, scallion oil, mayonnaise, or even butter. Chicken, beef, cheese, butter, pate, spam, or sausage are some of the other new variations. There’s no right or wrong topping. Some street vendors like to add a Western spin to it. The completed grilled cracker is served on a plastic plate with scissors for cutting it into slices and bowls of hot sriracha sauce on the side for dipping.