About Rice Paper

The other kind of rice papers

Edible paper

Rice paper refers to an edible food wrappers back in most countries of East Asia, spring roll wrapper in Vietnam, sweets wrapper in China, and barbecue wrapper in Korea. Vietnamese spring roll wrapper is made of true rice. White rice is moistened, pulverized, mixed with starchy tapioca flour and made into paste. The rice paste is ladled out on the gauze of food steamer to form a paper-like sheet that is allowed to be cooked, taken up with a roller, and sun dried. Dry rice wrapper is hard, therefore it has to be moistened in warm water before use. Sweets wrapper, or wafer paper as it sometimes is called, is made from starch. After mixing with phosphatidic solution that prevents the sheets sticking to each other, starch paste is fed to a machine that turns it into film. Transparent and crispy, starch paper melts away in the mouth, by which we enjoy sweets without messing up our hands. (A kind of starch paper can run through an inkjet printer. The printer ink is made from edible pigments.) Korean barbecue wrappers are slices of freshly cooked rice cake.

Pith paper

Pith paper, or rice paper (a misnomer) as it is sometimes known, is a spongy, paper-like sheet cut from the inner pith of plant Tetrapanax papyrifera, the rice paper plant, a shrub native to south China, including Taiwan. The pith is obtained by pushing a round dowel through newly harvested branches. When the pith is complete dry, it is cut into thin sheet with a sharp knife. The sheet can't be large, a 3/4 inch thick pith for a sheet about three inches wide. The European knew pith paper through miniatures. Guangzhou became one of the British trading ports after China lost 1840 Opium War. To satisfy European interest in Eastern art, many thousands of watercolor paintings on pith paper depicting everyday Chinese life in Western style were brought to Europe from there. The making of these miniatures ended when the turmoil in the following century brought Britain-China trade to an end.

Size 10 - 12 ft. Leaves 5 - 7 lobed, umbrella-like. Flowers Creamy white.

Botanical Name
Plant family
Plant part used  
Used in
Tetrapanax papyrifera

Water soluble paper

Water soluble paper serves as a temporary support. Embroidery, for example, uses this paper as backing that holds the stitches flat. At the finish the supporting paper is washed off to let the patterns stand out. Some water soluble paper disappear in cold water; others require higher temperature. Water soluble paper is not made from organic matter - a web is formed from nylon fibers and then coated with polyvinyl alcohol, but it can be painted, printed, or laminated like a true paper.

About Rice paper

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