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Jan 22, 2013 11:33 AM

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

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  1. Thanks for alerting me to these! I'll check them out for sure.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Radical347

      The company also makes brown rice noodles, if you want to make pho at home. But I've not tried them myself.

    2. Thanks, Melanie! I went to WF in Napa, but they did not carry it. This is definitely worth investigating!

      2 Replies
      1. re: NapaSpy

        Please keep us posted on where you locate them and how they work for you. My friend is more adept at rolling fresh rolls than I am, and I wonder if some of the superior elasticity and texture might be due in part to her skill in moistening and handling.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Yes, I will, Melanie.

          Alas, the tightly packed rolls come from practice.

      2. In case you can't find it a Whole Foods, the wrappers are also available from Amazon--though you have to buy them in packs of 6!

        1 Reply
        1. re: BLD

          Thx, BLD.

          WF in Napa is listed on the Star Anise website. Guess I'll have to be more assertive in my inquiries the next time I go there!

        2. 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!

          2 Replies
          1. re: NapaSpy

            Glad to hear you and your family like them! I'm no good at wrapping cuon at all, so you're ahead of me there. I wonder if these need to be soaked a little less.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Though I've never been impressed enough with Yamo to wait in line for it, I picked up a great tip from watching the chefs on my visit--they spray the wrappers with water from a water bottle an let them soften--no soaking required.

          2. 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.

            1 Reply
            1. re: possumspice

              Thanks for pointing that out. That splintering and subsequent clean up makes me crazy too. I'll try 'em.