Brown Rice Spring Roll Wrappers (Bánh Tráng) by Star Anise Foods in San Francisco
Recently a Vietnamese friend gave us some homemade goi cuon (fresh rolls). I was surprised by the tan color of the rice paper wrappers. The banh trang (rice paper discs) are made with brown rice by Star Anise Foods in San Francisco and sold at Whole Foods in Northern California and New York or via the company’s website.
These wrappers actually have FLAVOR instead of just being a vessel. They taste a little nutty and the texture is slightly firmer and more elastic than the white rice variety. They may also be more nutritious. I liked them quite a bit and will seek them out when I roll my own.
Star Anise Foods
On a related note, the same company also recently started selling brown rice pho noodles at Whole Foods. I tried them and really like them...a pleasant chewiness and nuttiness similar to what Melanie describes in the brown rice wrappers. I also like that the noodle bundles are a reasonable size for one person. One thing I hate about cooking rice noodles is breaking the bundles into smaller portions and scattering rice noodle fragments everywhere.
The packages are marked Happy Pho, but when I go to the Happy Pho website, they appear to be Star Anise Foods.
I FINALLY (!) found some at my local Whole Foods and made some Vietnamese shrimp rolls. Yes, Melanie is correct, they had a nutty flavor, and my family liked it.
However, I found brown rice paper to be delicate, and I could not make the tight rolls that I could with the plain white wrappers. Maybe I need more practice with the new product. If so, I have a whole package left, and it should be interesting.
Thanks, Melanie, for alerting us to new products!