It’s the 29th of the 12th month in the lunar calendar. The last day of the Year of the Cat. The last day before Tet officially starts. But the preparation for Tet is also Tet. Having a good time is also Tet. Being home is also Tet. 🙂 One of the best parts of being home is not just getting to eat a lot. It’s getting to eat a lot of food that I would never have known otherwise. This time, Little Mom introduced me to the Central Vietnamese fun of a rice cracker roll.
When I first heard the name, I thought I heard it wrong: how can you make a roll out of a stiff, crunchy, airy rice cracker (which we call a bánh tráng nướng in the South, or bánh đa in the North)? Simple. You dip it into water. Just like you would with the normal dry rice papers to make gỏi cuốn or chả giò.
Except in this case, you get an extra thick roll with some crunch and air in the bite, and the nuttiness of thousands of sesame seeds ingrained in every bánh đa. The filling is simple, too: boiled pork and fresh greens. Then dip it into the ever-flavorful mixed fish sauce. Mmmmm… Delicious Lunar New Year!
P.S.: Toasting a rice cracker on open fire is cool but not exactly easy to do (for example, I only have an electric stove). So we toast them in the microwave, 1 minute each side for even crunchiness. 😉 It’ll pop like firecrackers in the mouth. 😀