Vietnamese business people can be hyper-entrepreneurial and competitive. When an idea succeeds, copycats and rivals inevitably appear – springing up practically overnight like mushrooms.
That, my friends, is happening with the plastic Vietnamese rice paper dipping bowl that I recently wrote about. Vinh, Mr. Spring Roll’s maker, commented in the post and thanked everyone for supporting his product. He also apologized for the hiccups in distribution. He was working out of his apartment!
Not long after that post, a Viet chef friend, Terrence Khuu, pointed me to a rival product, New Star International, which had a fledgling Facebook page but no website. (The first 100 people to like their page get a chance to win a dipping bowl.)
New Star’s to nhung banh trang (bowl for dipping rice paper) comes in three colors and is fashioned from “high-quality PVC” (PVC is a type of plastic that I typically associate with plumbing pipes but it has many industrial uses). Terrence’s friend is distributing New Star International and sent a lime green one for me to test drive. The other options include blue and clear.
My first thought was, “Mr. Spring Roll works fine. Who needs another one of these?” New Star thinks that its rice paper water bowl beats out Mr. Spring Roll. This week, I compared the two on these points: