Ly, 38 — Making Banh Trang

Ly, Making Banh Trang, Hoi An, Vietnam
Ly, 38 — Making Banh Trang — Hoi An, Vietnam

Mak­ing Bánh Tráng (crispy rice crack­ers) by hand requires a lot of time. Each day, I make 700. In the rainy sea­son, I work from 4 AM to 4 PM.”

After mak­ing the paste with rice flour and sesame seeds Ly spreads it on a cheese­cloth stretched over a bowl of water. A wood fire below boils the water cre­at­ing steam that cooks the paste. Because it’s an over­cast day she dries the cooked rice crack­ers inside over small beds of coals. Lay­er upon lay­er of rice crack­ers are spread about in her tra­di­tion­al kitchen.

This has been my job for more than 10 years. It’s hard work, which is why not many peo­ple in my vil­lage do it any­more. Most fam­i­lies used to do it, but now they have bet­ter job options. To con­tin­ue the job, you have to love and have a pas­sion for it. I always do it and love it (smiles). It’s also is fun and gives me free­dom, so I can take care of my chil­dren and fam­i­ly; I can also work or not when­ev­er I want to.”
“You have to be skill­ful to spread the flour liq­uid oth­er­wise… Seri­ous­ly you should have a pas­sion for it. Doing any job, we should have persistence.”

Ly, 38 years old
Hoi An, Vietnam

Ly, Making Banh Trang, Hoi An, Vietnam

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