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Spring roll v Egg Roll [moved from Austin board]


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  1. I'm tired of this conundrum ; please , someone explain the difference.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pinotho

      If you'd ever seen them side by side you'd know what the difference is... Spring rolls have a very delicate wafer skin and they're usually petite (often finger-sized...) They can have meat or shrimp or vegetables in them, but they're supposed to be crispy and flaky NOT chewy.
      All the eggrolls I've seen are about five times the size of a spring roll, with similar filling, but with a very thick chewy tough wrapping, like a spring roll on steroids. They remind me of an Australian fastfood invention called a 'chicko roll' (which was based on a springroll but modified for massproduction...)
      I love spring rolls but I hate eggrolls - when we order Chinese I buy myself a spring roll and give my free eggroll to my husband who doesn't know any better :P

      1. re: Kajikit

        I think you are speaking too generally.

        I live just outside Little Saigon in Orange Co. California

        At Pho restaurants, spring rolls are rice wrappers filled with shrimp, sometimes chicken, or pork or pork belly or even spam and lettuce, mint, bean sprout, vermicelli and served with peanut sauce.

        Egg rolls, whether it's Vietamese or Chinese or Thai are wrappers filled with vegetables or meat and vegetables and deep fried. They are served with a sweet and sour sauce or plum sauce.

    2. Good timing ... this is a GREAT !!! explanation on the SF board by Gary Soup ... probably one of the all-time great things he has ever posted on Chowhound .. with lots of good posts ...

      "The main difference is that egg rolls are bigger and the wrapper is brushed with egg so it blisters when it's deep fried. Traditionally spring rolls are all or mostly vegetable-stuffed (spring vegetables, get it?) while what goes into egg rolls is omnly limited by the imagination. There's even a place in Philadelphia that makes cheese steak egg rolls."

      One of those things I will NEVER forget ... egg rolls .. .brushed with egg ... spring rolls .. think spring.

      6 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        I would defer to Gary Soup's expertise, but I thought the basic diff was egg roll wrappers are made of wheat flour, and spring roll wrappers are made of rice flour? Am I mistaken?

        1. re: Alice Patis

          When my grandpa made his egg roll wrappers for our restro, he actually used eggs, dozens and dozens and made almost a crepe like wrap. No one makes it that way anymore...everyone just seems to go for the premade stuff now.

          1. re: justagthing

            do you have your grandpa's recipe? if so could you post?

            1. re: mismmw

              Sorry, but I just found your question as I have not been on in awhile. Basically, to make the wrappers, my grandpa would just whip the eggs and cook them like a crepe, but huge and in a wok. I am sure you can do the same thing w/a frying pan. We would take these 'crepe' like wrappers, cut them in half and then roll w/the stuffing. We then steamed the rolls. I liked them best when they were steamed. But for the customers, we then dipped in batter and deep fried. Hope that helps.

          1. re: rworange

            The OP may frequent Cantonese restauarants where the terms "egg rolls" and "spring rolls" have come to mean the same thing. Then there is no difference.

            I don't think you can generalize and say a spring roll is a rice flour wrapper and egg roll wrapper is from wheat flour.
            Vietnamese cuisine a spring roll is a filled uncooked rice wrapper. They also have Chả giò which is a fried spring roll and even they interchange the names crispy spring roll or egg roll (even when they use a rice wrapper and there is no egg in it).
            Filipino Lumpia is referred to as a spring roll or the Filipino version of the egg roll.

            Egg rolls aren't brushed with egg to make the skin blister.
            The egg roll wrapper is made with egg and only egg brushing is on the edges to seal the egg roll closed. Deep frying makes the skin blister.

          2. my mother makes "egg rolls" everytime my sister or I come for a visit, even though egg or spring rolls are not korean. i guess everyone loves chinese food, or everyone loves making it their own. i used to love the blistery, doughy, chewy egg rolls we'd get in restaurants, but then my mom tried a filipina friend's lumpia and switched to lumpia wrappers, which are super thin and crispy. i preferred the egg roll skins, but was overwhelmingly overruled by my family.

            i went to a retro dinner party and decided to make eggrolls with the thick, flour wraps from the supermarket. they were chewy, blistered, and satisfying for the one night, but now i realize i have been fully indoctrinated into the thin, crispy spring roll/lumpia skin camp. though truth be told, i'd rather eat a bunch of steamed or fried mandu.

            1. I agree with the wrappers (one, yellow and chewy - ther other transparent, and crisp).

              The BEST spring roll I ever had was from vietnamese woman - it had lots of black pepper in it and the best, crispiets wrapper. Filled also with cabbage, scallion, and pork. I don't even know if spring rolls are from vietnam in any way. Maybe they have their own version? I see teh "fresh" version a lot - the non-cooked. But, not the cooked

              1. On top of the difference in appearance, taste, and texture, spring rolls were invented in China, while egg rolls were invented in the US mainly in Americanized Chinese restaurants. In China you will not find the types of eggs we get in the US.

                1 Reply
                1. re: kobetobiko

                  I posted above about how my grandpa made crepe like wrappers. But as you said, we owned an old fashioned, americanized, Cantonese Take-Out restaurant. No one makes it this way anymore.

                2. What is the proper name for the "spring rolls" served in a Vietnamese Pho Restaurant?
                  The cold non-fried ones with pork, shrimp, cilantro and lettuce.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: kpaumer

                    The Vietnamese term is "goi cuon" which translates into "salad roll." I've seen that type of roll labeled both as "spring roll" and "summer roll" in Vietnamese restaurants. On the West coast, I've seen them labeled more as "spring rolls" while I've seen it as "summer roll" on the East.

                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      Admittedly, I'm not sure I've ever eaten Vietnamese food on the west coast, but I've only ever seen those called "summer rolls," and that includes restaurants outside of the east coast.

                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        In Boston Vietmanese restaurants, spring rolls and summer rolls (AKA "fresh rolls") are two different things - spring rolls are the little finger-sized crispy fried ones (I like them on top of bun) and summer rolls are goi cuon.

                      2. re: Miss Needle

                        I see the Vietnamese wrappers in the local chinese foodstore/ restauarant. The owner is Vietnamese, she tells me you steam the dried wrappers to prepare them then wrap the fillings, seems like a good alternative to the fried rolls, and I have had these "cold" or "fresh", sometimes called spring rolls, however lately they are all fried egg roll wapper variety in that restaurant no matter if egg roll or spring roll are ordered. She had suggested I use the Vietnamese wrappers for moo shoo as well but I have never seen that happen in any restaurant which always seem to use the raw egg roll wrappers. I am beginning to not like the pasty powdery raw egg roll wappers and am tempted to try the more labor intensive wrappers. I think I saw one instruction to use boiling water to soften the dry Vietnamese wrappers, I'll post maybe when I try them.

                        1. re: dijon

                          Dijon, I can't tell from your profile where you are located. But I've always had those goi cuon made with the rice noodle wrappers versus the wrappers for fried egg roll variety.

                          Those rice wrappers are pretty delicate and I find that just a short soaking in some warm water is all that I need. Otherwise, they kind of disintegrate.

                        2. re: Miss Needle

                          I didn't mean to imply that on the West coast they're only called spring rolls and on the East coast they're called summer rolls. In my experience, I've found that there is a regional difference in how they're labeled, but by no means an absolute phenomenon. You will see examples of the opposite.

                      3. Merriam Webster does not distinguish between the two... I always thought that a spring roll had the thin wrapper and was filled with veggies or shrimp and often noodles.. and can be fried or "fresh". Egg rolls I've seen with both the thick and thin skin...and have a heavier filling, usually pork and cabbage. I've had some egg rolls made by a Hmong woman...they had a thin skin and had beef and thin rice noodles..delicious!

                        1. This has always perplexed me, too. They may have been two different things at some point (the distinction like Kajikit mentioned), but from a linguist's perspective their semantic categories now overlap in usage. I think certain English speaking regions use different terms. Chicken corn soup, cornflour soup, and egg drop soup is another one that means the same thing with different names.

                          1. In Toronto, where we are blessed with a multitude of excellent Asian restaurants, no one would ever conflate the terms "egg roll" and "spring roll". The spring roll, regardless of filling, has a shell of thin, flaky, multi-level pastry, and is always deep fried. Egg rolls, regardless of filling, have a thick, single layer wrapper, and are also always deep fried. The cold rolls, regardless of filling, are wrapped in fresh lettuce and (sometimes) a light flour wrapper, and are referred to, variously, as "fresh rolls", "salad rolls", and "garden rolls".

                            Vietnamese style spring rolls almost always contain some ground meat with vegetables; Chinese ones may or may not include BBQ pork or shrimp. Egg rolls, which have backslid with the increasing popularity of spring rolls, now usually only contain shredded cabbage and bean sprouts, although some spots do offer specific "special" egg rolls which will have some meat or seafood in them.

                            I can assure you that if I ordered a spring roll, and was brought an egg roll, it would be sent back immediately. Also, in Toronto, spring rolls are definitely more expensive than egg rolls; at my local Chinese-Canadian spot, egg rolls are $1 while spring rolls are $1.30.

                            1. Huh. I have always been under the impression thawt Spring rolls were cold rolls wrapped with rehydrated rice pancakes filled with bean sprouts, carrot, shrimp and vermicelli noodles and cilantro sort of thing and that egg rolls are the fried version - small or large no matter.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                Where I live spring rolls are fried wrapped rice paper, and the cold rolls are known as summer rolls.

                              2. Might be changing terminology with changing times, but here in Southern California, when I see Spring Roll on a menu I expect the unfried kind. One of the most celebrated(or overhyped depending on your bias) spring rolls in these parts is the one at Brodard in Little Saigon which is goi cuon and not the fried type.

                                Originally the word spring roll came from the Chinese word 春卷 which literally translates as "spring roll". Not sure about the rest of the Chinese speaking world, but at least in Taiwan, the term can apply to both fried and unfried varieties. Given the strong Vietnamese and Taiwanese influences in So Cal, the idea that spring roll means unfried has pretty much taken hold.

                                1. I am affraid you are all wrong about Egg Rolls.

                                  Here is the real deal!

                                  as a side dish...I would get this...

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: JanPrimus

                                    Definitely an egg roll.

                                    But, my stupid brain can't figure out what the side dish is.....do tell.
                                    Bacon ?

                                      1. re: Humbucker

                                        That's what I thought it was.....but I was expecting a more creative name.

                                        1. re: monku

                                          It's a "case of bacon" !!!!
                                          Bacon suitcase is lame sounding.

                                    1. re: JanPrimus

                                      Both repulsive and intriguing. Very yin and yang. Hat tip to you Jan.

                                    2. Interesting... growing up in Taiwan, egg rolls (dan giuan) were a sweet, eggy dessert that looked somewhat like a long, thin hollow taquito or cigar.