Inspiration for dew-bared rice paper
Vietnam is a country of many unique delicacies and one of the favorites is rice paper-based dishes. There are many kinds, among them the most noticeable is banh trang (rice paper) Trang Bang, a trademark name.
In Trang Bang Town of Tay Ninh Province on the National Highway 22, there are nearly 1,000 rice paper making establishments, of which 100 make dew-bared rice paper. But rest assured, one needs not to travel that far to taste this regional delicacy, as there are many restaurants here in HCMC that are offering banh trang Trang Bang, a rice paper-based dish.
The rice paper is delicious because it is made by pure rice. The grains are crushed into a powder form, and then mixed with water and a little salt into a paste. The paste is spread twice on a cloth covering a steaming pot. It is then left to dry on bamboo sheets and later baked. Afterward, they are left outside once more time, now to absorb the morning dew and become softer. The process takes time and effort but it is worth the while. The finish products are stacked in between banana leaves and packaged in bags to preserve freshness.
The rice paper is delicious when eaten with pork and vegetables. The meat used is pork thigh. It is well boiled and sliced thinly. These vegetables are exotic, with names that are only familiar to those who frequent the restaurants. They are not easily found; some live in wild forests while others are specially grown in Trang Bang. In many cases, the restaurants have to make special orders in months in advance for them.
The dish offers five tastes: acrid, sweet, sour, hot and fragrant, which are acquired through the vegetable selections: giap ca (houttuynia cordata), tia to (perilla), he (allium odorum), hung (mint), cucumber, sprout, and dua chua (sour vegetables).
Another crucial part of the banh trang Trang Bang is the sauce, which is irreplaceable. All ingredients, pork, vegetables and sauce, are complimenting each other.
Together, they make the dish memorable and unique. Customers will not forget since they have tasted this special treat of Tay Ninh region.