All You Need to Know About Vietnamese Rolls

July 12, 2023 - 4196 views

Vietnamese cuisine is among the most popular cuisines in the world, of which rolling is one of the most simple cooking techniques, but creates the best dishes. Rolls become one of the integral parts of Vietnam cuisine. What are inside Vietnam rolls? Let us explore!

Whenever people talk about Vietnamese cuisine, they will talk about world-famous dishes such as Pho noodle soups and Banh mi sandwiches. But Vietnam cuisine has more than that! Fried spring rolls, Fresh spring rolls, Pho rolls, Popiah, etc. are all foods rolled in different styles with various ingredients. Each dish has its distinguishing features and surely it will make you mouthwatering. Let's see why Vietnam rolls are popular by reading this article.

Overview of Vietnam rolls

Vietnam is one of the world's richest agricultural countries & rice becomes a staple of the national diet. From rice, people can make noodles, rice vermicelli, and paper wrapper. Then the Vietnamese create wraps and rolls from rice paper wrappers. The fillings of the rolls vary from religion to religion, which creates the diversity of Vietnam rolls.

Fried spring roll is well-known around the world while fresh spring roll is a famous dish in southern Vietnam. And there is more than that… From Pho rolls (sister version of Pho noodle) to Banh Cuon or Bo cuon la lot, they are all incredibly delicious. Some dishes like fresh spring roll or popiah are believed to come from China, but they are then modified to be able to use ingredients available in Vietnam and to suit the local people’s tastes. They become the best foods in Vietnam and are loved by people around the world.

Moreover, the secret of rolls in Vietnam lies in the sauces. Sauces are made based on traditional recipes, from various raw materials and tastes. Each roll has its own sauce from Northern “tương bần”, shrimp paste to Central “mam ca”, “tuong hot” or Southern pure fish sauce made from anchovies in Phu Quoc region, which are the highlights of rolls.

Vietnamese rolls

Vietnam roll

There is a great diversity of Vietnamese rolls

Types of Vietnamese rolls

There are many kinds of rolls in Vietnam. Below are 8 typical Vietnamese rolls which you should try once visiting this foodie destination.

Nem ran (Fried spring roll)

Fried spring roll is probably one of the most popular and famous dishes in Vietnam. It used to be a special dish on special occasions like Tet and other family festivals, but now it is served all year round. Considered the main dish in Vietnam but an appetizer abroad. There are vegetarian and meat spring rolls such as beef, chicken, sea crabs, snail, or unshelled shrimps. Other ingredients of fried spring rolls are shiitake mushroom, Jew's ear, vermicelli, onion, eggs, and other seasonal kinds. Whichever they are, all ingredients are mixed thoroughly before being wrapped with rice paper into small rolls. These rolls are then fried in boiling oil. The fried spring rolls are often served with salad, bun noodles, and garlic soy dipping sauce or fish sauce. Dipping sauce often includes Vietnamese fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic cloves, birds-eye chilies, and lime juice.

Fried spring rolls-An overall guideline of Vietnam rolls

Vietnamese fried spring rolls

Goi cuon (Fresh spring rolls)

Another version of spring roll is fresh spring roll or 'summer roll' which is much lighter and healthier. Unlike fried spring rolls, fresh spring rolls are served fresh with fillings of cooked meat and fresh vegetables. The dish is available across the country, and you can find the best fresh spring rolls in Saigon. Fresh spring roll is made from translucent rice paper wrappers and you can put whatever you want to eat inside. It can be steamed shrimp, steamed pork, salad, bun noodles, cucumber slices, lettuce, mint. The red shrimp and green vegetables under the transparent rice paper give the roll a flashy look. You can choose mushrooms and tofu spring rolls if you are vegetarian. They’re usually served with garlic soy dipping sauce or peanut sauce.

Fresh spring rolls - An overall guideline of Vietnam rolls

Fresh spring rolls in Vietnam

Pho cuon (Pho roll)

Pho roll is another popular dish among roll dishes. This dish is wrapped in fresh rice noodle sheets, similar to those usually cut into pho noodles. It is not cut into strands but shaped into a thin rectangle. The filling is stir-fried beef, lettuce, and spicy greens, which are rolled in the smooth white pho paper. Some people say Pho roll is similar to Pho noodle soup without broth. But the difference is marinated beef. The beef in pho rolls is marinated and stir-fried. The rolls can be eaten on their own or dipped in fish sauce with chili, garlic, carrots, radish, vinegar, boiled water, and some sugar. You can use Pho roll as an appetizer before the main course or eat it together with other dishes.

Pho roll - An overall guideline of Vietnam rolls

Pho rolls

Bo bia (Popiah)

Sweet popiah is a popular street dessert that can be found at mobile stalls by street vendors, especially in front of schools. This dish was introduced to Vietnam by the Chaozhou immigrants and varied slightly to meet the taste of the Vietnamese. The wrap is made of flour and sugar with a crispy malt bar, shredded copra, and some black sesame seeds inside. The meat version comprises shredded sausage, fried eggs, carrots, lettuce, beans, dried shrimp, and herbs. All are chopped and rolled in rice paper. The dipping sauce is made up of chili sauce mixed with roasted peanuts and fried onions.

Popiah - An overall guideline of Vietnam rolls

Popiah

Pork mixed with rice powder and fig leaves (Nem tai cuon la sung)

This is a folk cuisine of Vietnam and its main ingredient is steamed pig ears. Steamed pig ears are sliced and mixed with roasted rice powder. The ear needs to be washed and boiled carefully and cut into very thin slices with a very sharp knife because a thick slice of pig’s ear would be very tough to eat. The slices are then mixed with a kind of rice powder called thinh and some spices. The thinh gives the meat a lovely aroma. Nem tai cuon la sung is eaten with girdle cakes, fig leaves, salted fig, raw vegetables, along with sweet and sour sauce. If you are afraid of eating pig’s ear, you could choose pork instead.

Pork mixed with rice powder and fig leaves-An overall guideline of Vietnam rolls

Pork mixed with rice powder and fig leaves

Shredded Pork Skin Fresh Springs Rolls (Bi cuon)

Shredded Pork Skin Fresh Springs Rolls is a popular dish with an easy recipe. The rolls are filled with shredded pork skin with roasted rice powder, pork meat, lettuce, springy rice noodle, and Vietnamese herbs. The shredded pork skin should be completely dry before combining it with the roasted rice powder. The roasted rice powder gives the dish an appetizing smell. All ingredients are wrapped in rice paper. You can enjoy the springs rolls with sweet fish sauce. This can be used as an amazing appetizer.

 Summer rolled with shredded pork skin -An overall guideline of Vietnam rolls

Shredded Pork Skin Fresh Springs Rolls

Rolled rice pancake (Banh Cuon)

Although you can find these rolls throughout the country, it’s preferred by people in the north. People love to eat it for breakfast. Banh Cuon is steamed rice-flour sheets with a variety of ingredients inside. It can be minced pork, onion, wood ear, mushroom, and dry fungus. If you are a vegetarian, you can ask for rolls with the only mushroom in it. Banh Cuon is always served with some sort of sauce such as fish sauce or soy sauce. It’s the perfect meal to start your day with since it’s light and easy to eat.

Banh Cuon - An overall guideline of Vietnam rolls

Rolled rice pancake

Grilled beef, in lolot leaf (Bo cuon la lot)

Bo cuon la lot can be easily found in food streets in Ho Chi Minh. Rolls of minced beef wrapped in lolot leaves are grilled until fragrant. Minced beef is mixed with spices, sugars, and sauces before being turned into small sausages. These are then wrapped in fresh betel leaf, grilled over charcoal and served with rice paper and a stack of fresh leafy vegetables. Bo cuon la lot should be eaten with fresh noodles or dipped in light fish sauce. Wild betel leaves are the secret ingredient in Bo cuon la lot, making it a unique roll in Vietnam.

Bò cuốn lá lốt - An overall guideline of Vietnam rolls

Grilled beef in lolot leaf

Where to get the best Vietnam rolls

Fried spring rolls

Hanoi

• New Day Restaurant - No. 72 Ma May street, Hoan Kiem

• Noodle and Roll - No. 39C Ly Quoc Su street, Hoan Kiem

Ho Chi Minh

• Wrap and Roll: 62 Hai Ba Trung street, Ben Nghe, District 1

• Propaganda Bistro: 21 Han Thuyen, District 1

Fresh spring rolls

Hanoi

• Cuon N Roll Restaurant: 3 Ngo Ba Trieu, Le Dai Hanh District

Ho Chi Minh

• Goi cuon Tom Nhay: 424 Lac Long Quan, Ward 5, District 11

• Goi cuon Hanh: 420A Hoa Hao, District 10

• Goi cuon Bi Cuon bo bia: 69 Tran Van Dang, District 3

Pho rolls

Hanoi

• Pho Cuon: 31 Ngu Xa, Truc Bach, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

• Pho Cuon Huong Mai: 25-27 Ngu Xa, Truc Bach, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh

• Pho Hai Thien: 14 Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao, District 1

• Ngo 8: 35 Truong Dinh, Ward 6, District 3

Popiah

Ho Chi Minh

• Bo Bia Ly: 120E Dinh Tien Hoang, Da Kao ward, District 1

• Co Hieu: 37 Nguyen Phi Khanh, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1

Pork mixed with rice powder and fig leaves

Hanoi

• 35 Hang Thung Street

• Street stalls on Ta Hien Street, Hang Bong Street, or Tong Dan Street.

Summer rolled with shredded pork skin

Ho Chi Minh

• Goi cuon, bi cuon, bo bia: Tran Van Đang

• 116 To Hien Thanh, District 10

Hanoi

• 46 Tran Xuan Soan, Hai Ba Trung

Rolled rice pancake

Ho Chi Minh

• 89 Store: 89 Ly Tu Trong St

• Banh Cuon Nho restaurant: 353 Le Van Sy

Hanoi

• Banh Cuon Ba Hoanh: 66 To Hien Thanh

• Banh Cuon Thanh Van: 12-14 Hang Ga 

• Banh Cuon Gia An: 25 Thai Phien Street

Bo cuon la lot

Ho Chi Minh

• Co Lien La Lot: 321 Vo Van Tan, District 3

Hanoi

• Bo Nuong la lot Ba Hoi: 330 Bach Mai

Above is an overall guideline of Vietnam rolls. Take your chance to taste these delicious rolls when you are in Vietnam. Not only food but there are also many things in Vietnam waiting for you to explore. Book a trip to Vietnam with us and enjoy the best Vietnamese rolls.

Jenny Tran

Image sources: Internet

Plan your tailor - made trip with a local expert
Book securely with money-back guarantee
Travel stress-free with local 24/7 support

Questions & Answers

Ask a Question