Thai Spring Rolls vs Vietnamese Spring Rolls: A Delectable Showdown
Spring rolls, these delightful, crunchy appetizers are a staple in Asian cuisine. However, did you know not all spring rolls are the same? Today, we’re diving into the differences and similarities between Thai and Vietnamese spring rolls.
Thai Spring Rolls
Thai spring rolls, known as “เปาะเปี๊ยะทอด” (pronounced paw phia tawd or poh pia tod) in Thai, are a type of fried spring roll that shares similarities with Chinese and Vietnamese fried spring rolls. However, there are distinct differences in the filling ingredients, wrapper type and size, as well as the choice of dipping sauces.
Thai spring rolls typically have a crispy and blistered skin when fried. The filling often includes ingredients such as glass noodles, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, and ground pork or shrimp. They are commonly served with sweet chili sauce or plum sauce.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Vietnamese spring rolls have a smoother appearance when fried. In Vietnam, fried spring rolls are wrapped in lettuce, while fresh spring rolls are wrapped in lettuce and fresh herbs. The filling of Vietnamese spring rolls often includes rice vermicelli noodles, shrimp or pork, lettuce, bean sprouts, mint, and cilantro. They are served with a variety of dipping sauces, including nuoc cham, a tangy and slightly sweet sauce made with fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and garlic.
Are All Spring Rolls the Same?
Despite their similar appearance, spring rolls vary widely, particularly when comparing Thai and Vietnamese variations. The Vietnamese spring rolls, for instance, can either be served fresh or fried, whereas Thai spring rolls are traditionally deep-fried.
What’s Inside a Thai Spring Roll?
Original Thai spring rolls in Thailand typically consist of a mix of vegetables, noodles, and sometimes meat, all wrapped up in a crispy wheat-based wrapper. The ingredients are finely chopped and sautéed, then rolled in the wrapper and fried to perfection.
The Two Faces of Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Interestingly, Vietnamese spring rolls come in two forms: the fresh spring rolls, known as gỏi cuốn, and the fried version, chả giò. The fresh version is often made with shrimp, pork, herbs, and rice vermicelli, all wrapped up in a translucent rice paper. On the other hand, fried Vietnamese spring rolls can contain minced pork, wood ear mushrooms, and thin Vietnamese glass noodles, creating a delightful texture and flavor contrast.
Thai Spring Roll vs Summer Roll
Thai spring rolls differ significantly from summer rolls, which are typically of Vietnamese origin. While spring rolls are usually fried, summer rolls are served fresh, showcasing bright, vibrant ingredients through their translucent rice paper wrapping.
Are Thai Spring Rolls Healthy?
Thai spring rolls, while indulgent and delicious, are deep-fried, which means they can be high in fat. However, if you’re opting for a healthier choice, you could try the vegetarian or vegan spring rolls, filled with a colourful medley of fresh vegetables.
Thai Egg Roll vs Spring Roll
The primary difference between a Thai egg roll and a spring roll lies in the wrapper. Thai egg rolls use a wrapper similar to a thin egg crepe, giving them a slightly different texture and flavor compared to the crunchy wheat wrapper of a traditional Thai spring roll.
How to Enjoy Spring Rolls
Both Thai and Vietnamese spring rolls are usually served with a dipping sauce on the side. For Thai spring rolls, a sweet and sour sauce is often served, while Vietnamese spring rolls come with the signature Vietnamese spring rolls sauce – nước chấm, a delightful concoction of fish sauce, lime, sugar, water, and chili.
Are Spring Rolls Chinese or Vietnamese?
Spring rolls originated in China but have been adopted by many other Asian cuisines, each with its unique twist. So, yes, while you can find these delicious rolls in both Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine, today’s comparison has focused on the distinct features of Thai and Vietnamese spring rolls.
Thai Spring Roll Recipe
Thai Spring Roll Recipe Ingredients:
- 40g glass noodles, dry
- 120g ground pork
- 3 tsp soy sauce, divided
- ¼ tsp black peppercorns, ground
- ½ tsp white peppercorns, ground
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water until soft (at least 1 hour), then finely chopped
- 1.5 cups finely shredded cabbage
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 6 cilantro stems, finely chopped
- ½ – 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons water, as needed
- 8-inch spring roll wrappers, 12-14 pieces, thawed
- 1 egg, beaten, for sealing the wrapper
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Sweet chili sauce for dipping
Thai Spring Roll Recipe Instructions:
- Soak glass noodles in room temperature water for 10 minutes. Drain, then cut into short pieces.
- Mix ground pork with 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and set aside.
- In a wok or large sauté pan, add a little vegetable oil. Add minced garlic, black pepper, and white pepper. Stir until the garlic starts to turn slightly colored.
- Add the ground pork and cook until it is no longer clumpy and almost done.
- Add the soaked shiitake mushrooms, glass noodles, shredded cabbage, grated carrots, cilantro stems, salt, remaining soy sauce, and sugar. Toss until the noodles are fully cooked and the cabbage is wilted. Add a splash of water if the noodles start sticking.
- Remove the filling from heat, taste, and add more salt if needed. Transfer the filling into a bowl and let it cool before wrapping.
- Peel the spring roll wrappers apart and separate them.
- To wrap the spring rolls, follow the instructions in the video tutorial on the webpage.
- Use a heaping ¼ cup of filling per roll and seal the wrapper with beaten egg.
- Heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a pot to 350°F (175°C).
- Fry the spring rolls until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
- Drain the spring rolls on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
- Serve the crispy Thai spring rolls with sweet chili sauce for dipping.
Enjoy your homemade crispy Thai spring rolls!
Vietnamese Spring Roll Recipe
Vietnamese Spring Roll Ingredients:
- 10-12 spring roll wrappers
- 200g ground pork
- 100g shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
- 50g cellophane noodles, soaked and softened
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying
Vietnamese Spring Rolls Instructions:
- In a bowl, combine the ground pork, chopped shrimp, carrot, onion, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and black pepper. Mix well until the ingredients are evenly combined.
- Drain and squeeze out any excess water from the softened cellophane noodles, then add them to the pork and shrimp mixture. Mix thoroughly.
- Take a spring roll wrapper and place it on a clean surface. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the filling onto the lower third of the wrapper, leaving some space at the edges.
- Fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling, then fold in the sides. Roll tightly towards the top, sealing the roll with a bit of water on the edges. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
- Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan or pot to about 350°F (175°C). Carefully place the spring rolls in the hot oil, a few at a time, and fry until golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.
- Serve the fried Vietnamese spring rolls with dipping sauces like nuoc cham (a traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce made with fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and chili) or sweet chili sauce.
Vietnamese Spring Roll Ingredients:
- 10-12 rice paper wrappers
- 200g cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 100g cooked rice vermicelli noodles
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 cucumber, julienned
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- Fresh herbs (mint, cilantro, Thai basil), roughly chopped
- Lettuce leaves
- Hoisin sauce, for dipping
- Peanut sauce, for dipping
Vietnamese Spring Roll Instructions:
- Prepare all the ingredients by cooking the shrimp and rice vermicelli noodles according to package instructions. Let them cool.
- Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one rice paper wrapper into the water and rotate it gently until it softens, usually for about 10-15 seconds.
- Place the softened rice paper on a clean, flat surface. Add a few shrimp in a row on the bottom third of the wrapper.
- Layer some rice vermicelli noodles on top of the shrimp, followed by carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, fresh herbs, and lettuce leaves.
- Fold the bottom of the rice paper wrapper over the filling, then fold in the sides. Roll tightly towards the top to seal the roll. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
- Serve the fresh Vietnamese spring rolls with hoisin sauce and peanut sauce for dipping.
From Singapore to Saigon, the allure of spring rolls is universal, yet their diversity is striking. If you’re in Singapore, be sure to taste the delightful Vietnamese spring rolls or experiment with a homemade Vietnamese spring rolls recipe.
Whether you prefer the crunch of a deep-fried Thai spring roll or the fresh, vibrant flavours of fresh Vietnamese spring rolls, there’s a version out there to satisfy your cravings. And if you’re vegetarian or vegan, fret not – there are delicious vegetarian Vietnamese spring rolls and vegan options available too.
From the outside, they might all look similar, but as we’ve discovered, there’s a world of difference between each type of spring roll. Now that you’re well-versed in the nuances of Thai and Vietnamese spring rolls, the next time you order from a Thai restaurant or sample the offerings at a Vietnamese eatery, you’ll be able to truly appreciate the craft that goes into each bite.
Enjoy the exploration of these Asian culinary treasures and remember, whether it’s the Thai spring roll or the Vietnamese version, what truly matters is your enjoyment of these deliciously diverse delicacies. Happy Eating!