Bánh Tráng Phơi Sương

Although you’d never guess from my gastronomic adventures documented here, I am actually a creature of habit when it comes to everyday eating. I have a handful of lunchtime favorites that I could rotate through indefinitely without getting bored to tears, so it’s usually at the suggestion of The Astronomer that I try something new.

I had never heard of bánh tráng phơi sương until last week, when The Astronomer read about it on Pieman‘s site. In fact, Graham declared it his “favourite southern Vietnamese dish.” We headed over to Hoang Ty Restaurant (459-461 Cach Mang Thang Tam Street, District 10) to experience the glory that is “rice pancake exposed in the dew (at night)” for ourselves.

Bánh tráng phơi sương, like a lot of Vietnamese dishes, is a DIY roll and dip number. It is comprised of seven distinct parts: greens/herbs, pickled carrots, daikon and leeks, bun (vermicelli rice noodles), slices of boiled pork, fresh bean sprouts, cucumbers and peppercorns, rice paper and nuoc cham. Hoang Ty had a special of sorts going on during our visit, so we received a complimentary plate of cha (pork forcemeat) with our lunch. Score!

I started with a sheet of especially rustic rice paper, tucked in some greens and herbs, piled on pieces of boiled pork (I prefer to double up), bundled up some noodles and lastly, added fresh and pickled vegetables. Although the rice paper looked delicate, it was actually quite a champ when it came time to roll. Dipped in a bit of nuoc cham, the bánh tráng phơi sương was very reminiscent of goi cuon (spring rolls) minus the hoisin suace.

The Astronomer appreciated the DIY aspect of this dish; being able to choose the exact ratio of meats, herbs, vegetables and greens suited him well. However, he was disappointed that the majority of the greens/herbs tasted a lot less exciting than they looked. Overall, The Astronomer thought that bánh tráng phơi sương was a fun eating experience, but an entire meal of it was a bit monotonous. For me, bánh tráng phơi sương was too mild. I prefer my pork with some punch, if you know what I mean.


8 Responses to “Bánh Tráng Phơi Sương”

  1. 1 Raine January 16, 2008 at 4:08 am

    Whenever my mom is tired from work and has to make a quick meal, she makes this (: It’s true that it’s a bit boring (I don’t mind lack of variety imo), but it’s only one meal o:

  2. 2 Gastronomer January 16, 2008 at 9:09 am

    WOW! That’s so cool that your mom makes this dish. I’m always surprised when I encounter a dish that my family doesn’t make.

  3. 3 Teddy January 16, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Am with you on that pork lacking punch — I do like the DIY-style rolls for dinner though. So much stuff works with it. Once in HN I even had fresh, raw oysters wrapped up in rice paper (with different bits of herbs and other fillers) dipped in a wasabi-based sauce!

  4. 4 Gastronomer January 16, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Oooh Teddy, that sounds fabulous! Where can I find this treat when I visit Hanoi?

  5. 5 Teddy January 17, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    ‘Fraid I don’t know the number — but it’s a big, big place, mostly on the street — on Phan Chu Trinh st. — at the other end from the Opera House.

    If you go to the junction where Lo Duc, Le Van Huu, Han Thuyen, Phan Chu Trinh all meet, then walk up P.C.Trinh, its on your left, about 100m up… look out for boxes of seafood.

    Then you can go to Maison Vanille on the other side of the road for dessert!

  6. 6 Gastronomer January 17, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks a bunch! I look forward to sampling oyster DIY wraps and the sweets from Maison Vanille 🙂

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