We use rice papers to make the rice paper rolls. It’s a simple, thin-like-paper wrapper to wrap fillings. How do Vietnamese make it? What about rice paper wrappers’ nutrition? Is rice paper low in carbs and low calories?
What are rice paper wrappers made of?
Vietnamese use rice paper as the wrapper to wrap the fillings into a roll shape. That's why the food name is rice paper roll.
To understand well the nutrition of rice paper, let’s find out the ingredients people use to make it.
Rice paper wrapper is often made of rice flour, water, salt, and tapioca.
Salt helps the rice paper wraps to be more elastic, become completely dry, and prevent fungus. Tapioca helps the rice paper to be thinner, more glutinous, easier to bend, and not easy to be cracked. Tapioca also makes the rice paper more translucent.
Image: traditional hand-made method to produce rice papers.
In the traditional hand-made method, Vietnamese people make rice papers with a special steamer pot. The cook lays rice papers on a long bamboo mat to dry them under the sunlight. This way is popular in Vietnamese villages. It does not achieve consistency and quality. Each batch of wrappers is different from other batches in thickness and shapes. The traditional method hence cannot make enough quality rice papers for a big demand in Vietnam and around the world.
Therefore, people use new technology-driven methods to manufacture a big number of rice papers to get consistent quality. Businesses nowadays have deployed an engineering method. A machine replaces the traditional way. The machine mass-produces the rice papers. We cannot differentiate a sheet of rice paper from the others in the same package or in the thousandth package. They are almost identical in texture, thickness, and shape.
Rice paper wrappers carbs and nutrition:
Since it is very thin to wrap the fillings, the rice paper wrapper is very low in carbs (carbohydrates). Different rice paper brands provide different carbs and nutrition information for their products in their packagings.
Let’s have a look at the packagings of three popular rice paper brands, Valcom, Pandaroo, and Bamboo tree. Coles, Woolworths, and Asian grocery stores have these brands in their stores in Australia. Cooks and chefs in restaurants or in commercial kitchens widely use The Bamboo-Tree brand.
Image: Popular Rice Paper Brands in Australia and Their Nutrition Infomation.
Nutrition Fact from Valcom rice paper (for ANZ):
Serving size: 2 pieces (20g)
Nutrition information per serving (20g – 2 pieces):
Energy 290kJ, Protein 0.2g, Fat-total 0.2g, fat-saturated less than 0.1g, Carbs total 16.4g, sugars less than 0.1g, sodium 174mg, gluten nil detected.
It means that if you eat two pieces of rice paper, the carbs total is 16.4g.
Nutrition Fact from Pandaroo rice paper:
Average serving size 30g.
Nutrition information per serving (30g):
Energy 429kJ, protein 0.5g, Fat -total 0g, Fat – saturated 0g, carbohydrate Total 25g, sugars 1g, Sodium 264mg.
(all specified values are averages).
Nutrition Facts from Bamboo-Tree rice paper:
Average serving size: 68g (about 7 sheets).
Nutrition information per serving (68g):
Energy 995kJ, Protein 0g, Fat total 0g, Fat saturated 0g, Carbs 59g, Sugar 1g, Dietary fiber 1g, sodium 105mg.
It means that if you eat 68g (about 7 sheets), the total carbs are 59g, and you get 995kJ (about 238 Calories).
We captured the figures above from the products’ packagings. Please check the nutrition information on the packaging of a product that you purchase for the correct information.
Do rice paper wraps carbs and calories play a big role in the rolls’ nutrition?
Each rice paper contributes a small part of carbs and calories. The fillings of a rice paper roll will make the most contribution to the nutrition figures of a roll. There are many types of rice paper roll fillings. They vary among recipes.
Read this post by a nutritionist to see if rice paper rolls are healthy or not.
Use our free first-to-market Roll Nutrition Calculator, specially designed to calculate rice paper roll nutrition.
Read more here about Rolling Fun rice paper roll recipes.