This post was originally posted on Nyam Penh on April 16, 2012
My wife and I spent a week in Ho Chi Minh City just recently, enjoying the culinary delights Vietnam has to offer. We had a great time meeting new people along with some old friends and of course, ate tons of great food.
One memorable item we ate (and we ate alot of it) was Banh Trang Nuong or what I ended up naming the Vietnamese Grilled Taco. Banh Trang is translated as rice paper and is the used as the wrapping material for Bánh Cuốn or Chả Giò. With these preparations, the banh trang is dipped in water to moisten them to make for easier rolling.
With this dish, the uncooked banh trang is placed on a grill and the ingredients are placed on top. We went to several vendors and the filling is generally a mix of minced pork, dried shrimp butter, chopped scallions, and a quail egg.
An optional squeeze of chili sauce rounds out the filling. We also saw chili-sate sauce, deep fried onions and deep fried rice paper as ingredients and thought they made the Banh Trang Nuong even better!
At a certain point on the grilling process which the vendor knows perfectly, the banh trang becomes a bit more pliable and is folded over. A bit more time is spent on the grill to crisp it back up and then it is served with some folded paper.
The crispiness of the banh trang combined with the gooey texture of the filling (probably because of almost done quail egg) is one of those great experiences I will take with me to the grave. One note is that you have to eat this fast as the banh trang wrapper goes a bit limp if you leave it to cool down.
You can find Banh Trang Nuong vendors around town but we found tons of them in the park next to the Notre-Dame Basilica in District 1.