Skip to content

Foodstuff: Rice Paper Wrappers

Rice Paper 1

If you have eaten at a Vietnamese restaurant more than a few times, you have probably encountered this particular item in one appetizer dish or another. These semi-translucent circles are made from a very thin batter made with rice flour that is poured into bamboo trays and then dried, usually in the sun. The trays are generally made with a lattice of bamboo and this leaves a visible impression on the dried sheets, as you can see above. The dried discs originate in Vietnam, where they are known as ‘Bánh tráng’, and I have always thought this is probably a better name for them, even in the west, as ‘rice paper’ actually has several different (non-culinary) meanings.

Rice paper was, for a long time, generally only available in Asian stores in larger urban centers in the west, but they have become much more widely available these days. They actually come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and there are even types with different textural and flavor additives like sesame seeds, or dried shrimp to be found. For this post, however, we will be focusing on the basic form, which is the most widely known and commonly available…

Rice Paper 2

The typical use for the wrappers is in the making of the cold appetizer rolls known, in Vietnamese, as ‘Goi Cuon’. It is possible, however, to lightly fry the rolls, but this is less commonly seen. The rolls pictured above were served to me not long ago at a Vietnamese restaurant, where they actually appeared on the menu simply as ‘Salad Rolls’. These were stuffed with shrimp, chicken, salad greens and vermicelli. Vegetarian rolls are often served, but the filling can be just about anything, and Vietnamese herbs, cooked beef, as well as eggs are often used.

Nuoc Cham, or other fish sauce based condiments, are commonly served on the side for dipping but, again, the possibilities are limited only by the imagination of the cook. The ones above were served with a peanut sauce of the type you often see served alongside Satays.

Rice Paper 3

In order to use the wrappers, they need to be moistened in order to make them soft and pliable. The quickest way is simply to dip them into a bath of warm water for 4 or 5 seconds. You need to shake off excess drops as you remove each wrapper and then let them sit for a moment or two on your preparation surface. It is easy to overdo the soaking but you can easily get the trick a couple of tries.

Rice Paper 4

Another method is to cover the sheets with a damp cloth for a minute or two. This is a bit slower than the water bath method but it is effective and you can more easily control the speed of softening. This is probably the best method if you are going to fry your rolls.

Rice Paper 5

Forming rolls is fairly straightforward. The above picture doesn’t show actual rolls being made as the shrimp are frozen and have their tails still attached. I have simply used then to show the basic process. Essentially, you lay the filling just below the center of a moistened sheet, fold both sides over towards the center, then roll from the bottom towards the top. Unless you are frying, you will want to serve the rolls quite quickly after they are made as the wrapper will begin to dry out in no time at all.

That’s it!


No comments yet

Comments, thoughts or suggestions most welcome...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Meet & Eats

The food that I've had the pleasure of meeting and eating.

Uncle Grumpy's Playroom

Current events, humor, science, religion, satire

Food Travel Lover

走过的地方 尝过的美食 留下的回忆

The Odd Pantry

Essays on food

Reputable Sources

Organizing ferments since 2013

that Other Cooking Blog

. food . photo . sous vide .


My Virtual Cookbook to Share My Love and Joy of Food and Cooking One Recipe at a Time

lola rugula

my journey of cooking, gardening, preserving and more

Yummy Lummy

I cook, photograph and eat food with the occasional restaurant review!

Eye Of the Beholder

A pair of eternally curious eyes and a camera...Life is beautiful.

gluten free zen

Taking The Stress Out Of Gluten-Free Grain-Free & Dairy-Free Living

Clayton's Kitchen

Big flavors and fun cooking from a cubbyhole kitchen

Bunny Eats Design

Happy things, tasty food and good design


Dentist chef, just a dentistry student who practice the dentist's cooking recipes in a dentist's kitchen

Mad Dog TV Dinners

Guess what's coming to dinner?


Real Food & Real Opinions

Bento Days

Making bentos for kids

Garden to Wok

Fresh and tasty!

Bam's Kitchen

Healthy World Cuisine

Trang Quynh

everyone is special in their own way :)

Farm to Table Asian Secrets

Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season


If people say that life is too short to drink bad wine, it means also that life is too short to eat crappy food!

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

The Unorthodox Epicure

Confessions of an Aspiring Food Snob

The 好吃 Challenge

1 girl, 273 days, 100 recipes


a recipe sharing and bento blog


Just another site

The Food Nazi

Never try to eat more than you can lift

Expat Chef in Barcelona

From my kitchen to yours

Keeping Up With the Holsbys

a journey into my head and my pantry

Nurul's Culinary Adventures

I Love Food, the Universe and Everything!!


home-cooking recipes, restaurant reviews, International cuisine ,

Naked Vegan Cooking

Body-positive Vegan Goodness

Bites of Food History

Sharing my Experimental Archaeology of Food

Stefan's Gourmet Blog

Cooking, food, wine


A Journey About Food, Recipes And Destinations


Fresh, exciting and adventurous food journey

One Man's Meat

Multi-award winning food blog, written in Dublin, Ireland.

%d bloggers like this: