Bánh tráng or bánh đa nem, a northern Vietnamese term, (literally, coated cake and nem skins, respectively), sometimes called rice paper wrappers, rice crepes, rice wafers or nem wrappers, are edible Vietnamese wrappers used in Vietnamese cuisine, primarily in finger foods and appetizers such as Vietnamese nem dishes. The term rice paper wrappers can sometimes be a misnomer, as some banh trang wrappers are made from rice flour supplemented with tapioca flour or sometimes replaced completely with tapioca starch. The roasted version is bánh tráng nướng.
Vietnamese banh trang are rice paper wrappers that are edible. They are made from steamed rice batter, then sun-dried. A more modern method is to use machines that can steam and dry the wrapper for a thinner and more hygienic product, suitable for the export market.
Vietnamese banh trang wrappers come in various textures, shapes and types. Textures may vary from thin, soft to thick (much like a rice cracker). Banh trang wrappers come in various shapes, though circular and squared shapes are most commonly used. A plethora of local Vietnamese ingredients and spices are added to Vietnamese banh trang wrappers for the purpose of creating different flavors and textures, such as sesame seeds, chili, coconut milk, bananas, and durian, to name a few. Some of the more common flavors and types are listed below:
These banh trang wrappers are made from either rice or tapioca starch (or a mixture of both), water and salt. These wrappers are thin and light in texture.
These banh trang wrappers are made from rice flour, green beans, vegetable oil and salt. These wrappers are delicate and thin. They are lacy, net-like wrappers typically used for deep-fried cha gio rolls.
These banh trang wrappers are typically made from rice starch, then adding sesame seeds. Its texture resembles that of a rice cracker.
These are made by adding milk. This type of banh trang is softer, and supposed to melt on your tongue.
These banh trang wrappers are typically made by adding bananas. Its texture resembles that of a rice cracker.
These banh trang wrappers are typically made by adding coconut milk, sugar, rice flour, sesame seeds, and water. The texture resembles that of a cracker, similar to the sesame banh trang.
Banh trang wrappers are typically used in Vietnamese nem dishes. These wrappers are eaten dried (khô), fried (rán), baked (nướng) or soaked (ướt). They are typically served rolled (cuộn) or baked (nướng), in salads, soups and stirred fried Vietnamese dishes.
The light, translucent traditional banh trang wrappers are typically used for various Vietnamese rolls, more commonly the goi cuon (salad rolls). Though commonly used in fresh rolls, Northern Vietnamese cuisine often use these wrappers in Chả giò (Northern Vietnamese: Nem rán), a crispy, fried springroll. Traditional banh trang wrappers are also used to wrap common Vietnamese dishes such as banh xeo (Vietnamese sizzling pancakes), Bò 7 món (Vietnamese seven courses of beef) and cá nướng (Vietnamese grilled fish) and then dipped into a sauce.
The traditional banh trang wrappers are also used to make a Vietnamese salad dish called bánh tráng trộn (stirred banh trang salad).
Woven banh trang wrappers are typically deep fried to make an aesthetically appealing cha gio (Vietnamese crispy springrolls).
Sesame banh trang wrappers are typically baked or soaked in water, depending on individual textural preference, then served with salads, mi quang and various other dishes.
Banh trang production in Vietnam