Looking for Taiwanese spring rolls
I remember eating spring rolls as a kid for the Chinese holiday Tomb Sweeping Day in April. These rolls are filled with a variety of fillings-pork, chicken, shrimp, Chinese sausage, bean sprouts, cabbage, carrots... Instead of being fried, they're topped with a peanut powder and eaten fresh.
Does anyone know what I'm talking about? I'm not even sure I'm calling them by the right name, just a literal translation of the Chinese one. It's a long shot but are there any restaurants in the Bay Area that serve them?
I think this spring roll that you mentioned is a Hokkien/fu4 jian4 dish. I ate quite a bit of this in Singapore, where one can get a pot of cooked julianned vegetables (carrots, cabbage, jicama, green breans etc...), and all the condiments you mentioned, along with the rice skin. It's usually do-it-yourself, and folks would pile up all the ingredients and sauces and wrap the whole thing up, almost like a burrito.
If this is what you're refering to, it's known as "poh piah" (Hokkien pronunciation) in Singapore and Malaysia. You can get somewhat passable versions here at Singapore Malaysian Restaurant on Clement or Tracy Garden on Judah and 48th Ave. At these places, you don't get to wrap the stuff yourself and it comes pre-made, with a more limited repeitoire of ingredients.
If you're going to these two places, I'd recommend a couple of other dishes as well, as the pohpiah is only served as an appetizer.
As a rough rule of thumb, Tracy Garden has good entrees but not so good stand alone noodle/rice dishes; the reverse applies to Singapore Malaysian.
Ikan Panggang (grilled fish) and the rendangs (chicken or beef) are among the better things on the menu at Tracy Garden. Roti canai (an Indian flatbread served with some curry gravy) is also pretty good. Their satays are among the best I've had in SF for their price.
Singapore Malaysian - there was a chowhound dinner there a while ago, you should be able to pull out the postings with a search for suggestions. I liked their noodle dishes and the roti canai. Satay was bland and to be avoided. I'm quite fond of chendol, a coconut milk-based drink with palm sugar and little green strips made from rice powder. Singapore Malysian's version is quite respectable.