A while back I got an email from Jeni of Oishii Eats asking for my address because she wanted to send me something she thought I'd enjoy. Since she just got back from Vietnam (And you should seriously check out her blog for pictures if you're not already a reader), I was gleeful with anticipation. Seriously. Gleeeeeeful! Gleeful!
Because what did I get in the mail? Two stacks of no-soak rice paper!!! I think you'd call these banh trang tuoi (fresh rice paper) or banh da as Northerners would call it.
On the left is normal rice paper that needs to be quickly soaked before wrapping spring rolls. On the right is the fresh rice paper that you eat dry. As you can see, it's very, very translucent. A friend told me the pliability that allows this to be eaten without being wet is because it's not fully dried. You won't find it here because not fully drying the rice paper means it'll mold if not eaten fairly quickly after it's made. I've only eaten this in the southern part of Vietnam, but as the wrapper is written in Northen dialect, and it's packaged and doesn't seem to mold yet, I can only assume it's a different formulation? Do any of my readers know exactly how no-soak rice paper is different from normal rice paper?
Anyway, luckily I had just gotten back from the grocery store with some ground turkey for another recipe. I decided to make a batch of nem nuong (Vietnamese grilled pork patties) with turkey instead.
These tasted different from the versions I've had before. Once the warm meat touched the rice paper though, it became soft and pliable. Soooo good.
Jeni said I was the only person she knows who would truly enjoy this. Oh, boy, did I! Mmm! To borrow her phrase, this was oishii! Thanks again Jeni! :)