How To Buy Vietnamese Rice Paper

March 20, 2012 9:11 PM EDT
Vietnamese Rice Paper
Vietnamese Rice Paper (Photo: Flickr)

Rice paper used for Vietnamese food is made from rice, water, and salt. Rice paper is a thin steamed rice sheet that has been dried. Traditionally, rice paper gets dried on bamboo mats or stretchers of sorts, which explains why they have a woven pattern. You can soften it in warm water and eat.

Here are some tips how to buy Vietnamese rice paper.

1. Visit Vietnamese, Chinese, or Thai supermarket
The prices of rice paper are not greater than 3 dollars (1-3 dollars) at Asian supermarkets, which is very affordable.

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2. Choose a comfortable size.
The most popular size is the 8 1/2-inch circle. Most of the recipes use this size. More skilled people can use the smaller circles. Large ones are for the long rolls that can be cut into many portions. Square rice papers can be used for producing closed end rolls for deep frying.

3. Select a type of rice paper
There are all rice paper, tapioca and rice, and all tapioca paper. Recently, rice paper producers have blended in some tapioca starch to make the papers more pliable, thinner, and softer. The more rice is in the papers, the more they are opaque and thicker. Thinner rice papers get soften easily even in lukewarm water, whereas the thicker ones need hotter temperature. Avoid the super thin, see-through, all-tapioca starch papers, if you are a beginner for the rice paper cooking.

4. Do not worry about ingredient listings
Vietnamese rice paper never contains wheat flour. Sometimes it says it contains flour, but it is a translation problem.

5. You can trust the Red Rose brand and Three Ladies brand
The Red Rose brand and Three Ladies brand are reliable brands. If you are in doubt, just pay more to buy better quality one.


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