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May 23, 2005 10:26 PM

Banh trang chuoi (banana rice papers) - how to prepare?

  • j

I picked up a package of these in the Vietnamese grocery store - they resemble the round dried rice paper sheets used to assemble Cha Gio (spring rolls) except they have dried banana incorporated in them.
How do I prepare them? Should I dip in hot water to soften, like I would with the regular rice sheets?
How are they meant to be eaten? Does one spread chocolate or Nutella on them and eat as one would a crepe, or does one stuff 'em with ?fruit? How are they traditionally used? I've Googled but can't find any information, let alone recipes.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Your mystery product fascinates me. I am of Viet descent and have never seen or heard of banh trang w/ a banana fused into it. You're right, no info on google.

    My instinct is that you wouldn't eat it like a sweet crepe. It's probably used like a wrapper for some sort of savory filling, but I have no idea what kind. I also wondered if it can just be deep fried and eaten as a snack.

    I'm going to try to remember to ask my mom about this when I talk to her next. I hope others can help you out. If you shop at that market regularly, you can always ask any English-speaking staff what it's for.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Carb Lover

      Thanks for the suggestions, CarbLover and for responding - I was getting desperate after getting no responses!
      I would've asked the staff how to use it, except the few English speakers at this supermarket are Chinese and I doubt if they'd know. (I bought it at Super88, a Chinese-owned Asian supermarket in the Boston area, not at the Vietnamese deli/grocery in Dorchester that I'd mistakenly posted earlier). I guess I could bring it with me to the Vietnamese deli and ask the sole English-speaking staff for help when I next go for a banh mi fix :)
      It would be great if you could ask your mom - thanks!

      BTW, I really enjoy your posts, particularly of your culinary experiments, and your beautiful photos are inspiring!

      1. re: ju

        Okay...I bought some of these banana rice paper rounds on Dot Ave (funny, it seems we're all from Boston area) and had a friend suggest that we soften them in hot water, spread them flat, put ice cream and hot sauce and fold like a burrito. They were delicious but I'm not convinced that was the intent for them. I am shocked this is the only hit I found when I googled them that was helpful.

    2. I bought a similar item at one of the Vietnamese groceries on Dot Ave, except it had sesame seed fused into it; is this stuff about an eigth of an inch thick, a little thicker than rice-paper wrappers?

      You wouldn't believe what the staff told me....Put it in the microwave for a minute or so, and it becomes a crunchy snack cracker, with a texture like a firmer shrimp chip...I think they said ylou could deep fry them, too, but they wre definitely in favor if the microwave option...I put them on a support, a container of some sort, to let the waves get at them....

      3 Replies
      1. re: galleygirl

        Yes, galleygirl, you're right! There are two kinds of banh trang. The OP may indeed have the snack cracker product. Check out this link w/ more info...


        1. re: Carb Lover

          Oh yes, it was definitely the "banh trang nuong" with sesame seeds....I would guess you'd use the ones with banana the same way; I'm gonnah have to try grilling these things next....

          1. re: galleygirl

            There is a verison with dried shrimp infused into the cracker. You mirco wave that also, not as good as deep frying but close in taste to shrimp chips. It is a lot less work to clean up.

      2. Just to reiterate GG: I just asked my mom (who is Vietnamese)and she said in Vietnam it was eaten as crackers and heated on an open flame. She said she hasn't seen it here, but they also have them with coconut and ginger, along with the sesame seed and banana ones. In the US tho, she said most people heat them up in the microwave so they "fluff up and get crunchy".

        1. Thanks to all for your help (and for asking your mom, Rubee!). It would appear that what I have is indeed a type of "banh trang nuong" (thanks for link to Vietworld website, CL).

          I microwaved it as suggested (thanks, GG!) and, once it had cooled, got a tasty, sweet, crispy cracker. I'll still have to fine-tune the cooking time - on my first try, the banana got a little burnt; I reduced the cooking time next time around and the cracker was a little undercooked in places.
          The problem is that the sugar in the banana tends to cook faster than the rice paper. On closer inspection, each sheet appears to be composed of two thin layers fused together - a layer of translucent rice paper and a layer of dried round banana slices. If I had a gas stove I could toast it banana-side up so that the rice paper would cook before the bananas started to over-caramelize. But I don't, and there's no way to control the cooking process in the microwave.

          Nevertheless, I'm happy to have learnt a little more about Indo-Chinese cuisine - thanks again, fellow Hounds :)

          1. These banana sheets are soft and pliable - unlike the shrimp/rice paper sheets that are deep fried or microwaved. Any advice on how to use them? Thanks in advance