#Did you know?
In Vietnam, bánh tráng (rice paper) is still made by hand, one sheet at a time. In the village of Trảng Bàng – a district in Tây Ninh Province, about fifty 80 km north of Saigon, there are several dozen families that specialize in this ancient art. Using the same recipes that have been handed down from generations, they work tirelessly, usually in a small corner of the house near a window. The equipment is a very basic-a big pot of simmering water sitting on top of a rice husk-burning stove.
To make bánh tráng, the rice paper-maker (usually the mother or eldest daughter) ladles a thin layer of rice flour batter on a cloth tightly stretched over the pot. The rice batter is allowed to steam for about 20 seconds after which it’s transferred to a bamboo mat to be sun-dried. It is during this process that rice papers pop loose, creating a succession of faint cracks. The women then trim the sheets into perfect rounds by hand. Finally, they’re loaded on a bicycle and taken to the village distribution house. In addition to plain rice papers, bánh tráng are available in different flavours such as coconut, ginger and pandanus. Some varieties are made with bột nếp (glutinous rice flour) and once toasted, they puff up and have a great chewy texture.