Since this post about a southern Vietnamese rice paper roll called Bo Bia we have received a few emails and tags on flickr about them. Similar to salad rolls, Bo Bia is a rice paper roll found in southern Vietnamese, introduced by the Chinese community via street vendors. My parents speak fondly of the amazing way the street vendors would know exactly how many every patron would have had when it was time to pay up. I have never eaten or seen Bo Bia on restaurant menus and sadly did not ever see a vendor cart open while traveling through Vietnam. Although I did see the carts littered around Saigon.
Bo Bia is a communal meal where everyone gets to make each roll themselves. The fillings of Bo Bia is different from salad rolls, in that there are no rice noodles or abundance of herbs. Just julienned jicama and carrots (heated in water until softened), fresh basil, dried shrimp, Chinese sausages, thinly sliced omelette and roasted peanuts. Since Bo Bia is street food, no dipping sauce either, grab and go type of snack. They are also typically half the size of the ones we make. Bo Bia dinners are healthy, communal and such a fun way to share a meal with family.
The table is set for Bo Bia! The electric skills is used to heat the jicama and carrots and keep them warm and soft. Dried shrimp is reconstituted in water, Chinese sausage is sliced and cooked until they curl and the ends get smokey and soft, peanuts are roasted and eggs are made into an omelete and sliced into ribbons. Now it's time to make your Bo Bia rolls!
Bo Bia has quickly turned into one of our favorite family meals. If you google Bo Bia you'll see all the Vietnamese bloggers have also dedicated a post to these scrumptious rice papers rolls with recipes. We haven't made these at home ourselves we just make a beeline for ME/BA's house when they're making them!