Citizens, Gỏi cuốn or Vietnamese spring rolls are a classic Vietnamese dish traditionally consisting of pork, prawn, vegetables, bún (rice vermicelli), and other ingredients wrapped in Vietnamese bánh tráng (commonly known as rice paper).
They also are one of TFD’s favorite snacks, epitomizing all that is light and intensely flavorful in Viet cuisine. Like other spring roll dishes, they are believed to have an origin in China and were introduced to Vietnam by Chinese immigrants although the gỏi cuốn has been modified to suit local tastes.
Gỏi cuốn are served fresh while others are served fried, like the Vietnamese chả giò. They are served at room temperature (or cooled) and are not deep-fried or cooked on the outside. These rolls are considered to be a very popular appetizer with customers in Vietnamese restaurants.
The bánh tráng (rice paper) is dipped in water, then laid flat on a plate with the desired amount of ingredients placed on top. The fresh gỏi cuốn is then rolled up and ready to be eaten. Gỏi cuốn can be served with tương xào (also known as hoisin sauce), which consists of ground tương (tương đen or tương xay) and mixed coconut water (or broth), before being stir-fried with garlic and some sugar and then sprinkled with chili powder and ground peanuts. Alternatively, gỏi cuốn can be served with peanut sauce or other Vietnamese dipping sauces, such as nước chấm, a condiment based on fish sauce.
In Vietnam and in various parts of Southeast Asia, Vietnamese can be seen hand-making bánh tráng (rice paper) and placing them on the rectangular bamboo trays around their houses. Traditionally, gỏi cuốn are eaten with a large group of people at a home setting.
In southern Vietnam, these rolls are called gỏi cuốn, meaning salad rolls, while in northern Vietnam, these rolls are called nem cuốn, meaning nem rolls. In central Vietnam, they are simply called “rice paper” rolls. In the West, these rolls are called by several different English names, including “salad roll”, “spring roll” and “summer roll.”
Sometimes the word “Vietnamese” is added at the beginning of these words; for example, in Hong Kong, they are called “Vietnamese rolls”, and in Australia and the United States they may be called “Vietnamese spring rolls” (although specifically in Australia they may sometimes be referred to as “cold rolls”).
Some Asian restaurants in the United States also refer to them as “crystal rolls”, “soft rolls” or “salad rolls”. The name “summer roll” was popularized by some Vietnamese American restaurants for easier marketing and as a seasonal play on the term “spring roll”. But many Vietnamese American restaurants still use “spring roll” as the English translation.
While made in the same form as Chinese spring rolls, the ingredients are very different and it is served fresh, while spring and egg rolls are served fried. The fillings can vary from the standard pork slices, pork sausage slices (chả), and shrimp; fish, pan-fried seafood (such as squid), beef poached in a lemongrass broth, tofu (for vegetarians), grilled nem nướng sausages, braised pork, and egg are among some of the other popular spring roll variations.
They are served at room temperature (or cooled) and are not deep fried or cooked on the outside. They also happen to be listed at number 30 on the World’s 50 most delicious foods list complied by CNN Go in 2011.
Fresh gỏi cuốn have gained popularity among Vietnam’s neighboring countries and in the western hemisphere as well. These rolls are considered to be a very popular appetizer with customers in Vietnamese restaurants.
Citizens, this is a classic Viet recipe that I hope you will try for yourselves!
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