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Dec 20, 2007 12:45 PM

REAL eggrolls in Sacramento?

One thing I've noticed since moving to CA is that almost all of the Chinese restaurants have stopped making eggrolls. Oh sure, they still have sonmething called "eggrolls" on their menus, but the ones here out West don't taste anything like the ones I've had in other parts of the US. It seems to me that in order to cater to the more "health-conscious" Californians (I use the term health-conscious EXTREMELY loosely here), they have all stopped making their eggrolls with the traditional eggroll wrappers (sheets of dough made of wheat flour, like won-tons) and now use the supposedly "lighter" rice-paper wrappings. To me, this is not an eggroll, but a springroll, and I have nothing against springrolls. I have been known to order springrolls on occasion. But what I usually want is the thicker, slighly chewier texture the won-ton-type wrapper gives to a real eggroll. It seems to make no difference to the staff at any Chinese restaurant I go to here in CA, they always say they are made with flour wrappers, so I am fooled into ordering them, only to be disappointed by getting a plate of springrolls instead. I have never run into any staff at any Chinese restaurant that seems to know the difference.
I may be splitting hairs to some people, but this issue is important to me. I have gone so far as to make my own eggrolls (which ROCK, by the way!), but they are a whole lot of work, and it would be nice to have a place I could stop by after work for a light dinner of real eggrolls. Has anybody run into any Chinese restaurant in Sac that still serves real eggrolls? The only place I've found is Jack-in-the-Box, a place I go to only as a last resort.

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  1. “Real eggrolls,” eh? Well, if you’re talking about shredded vegetables and meats rolled in a wheat flour wrapper into a cylinder about 4" long and then deep fried until golden brown and crunchy, I’m not sure there are many Chinese restaurants in Sacramento that serve those…most of them have either gone out of business or moved on to more authentic fare. A lot of take-out places may still have them, tho, so you might try some of them. Other than take-out shops, the most likely sit-down place I can think of is a buffet place near Arden Fair Mall, but unfortunately, I don’t remember the name. I do know that the owners are relatives of Mason Wong (of Mason’s and Ma Jong’s)….his dad, I think? The food's not great, but there's a LOT of it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ricepad

      I've tried Ma Jong's, and was not at all impressed. They also serve springrolls and label them as eggrolls. My fave Chinese places in Sac so far are New Canton on BWay and Rice Bowl on Florin, but they also serve only spring rolls. I guess I'll have to make my own, or wait until I take a trip to visit family back in Chicago.

      1. re: ricepad

        You're thinking of Luau Gardens and it's across the street from Arden Fair, next to Mervyn's. There are also several other Asian buffet restaurants in that area that serve the thick eggrolls (chinese style; not lumpia style) that I think jerryd is describing. There's the International buffet on Howe Ave, near Cost Plus. There's the China House buffet further down Howe, past Hurley. If you want a good frozen egg roll, I've found the Safeway brand to be very good... they're in the appetizer section of the freezers. They are smaller than usual egg rolls but they have the thick wrappers.

      2. I think Raleys has th type of roll as well as springrolls. And I think I remember Luau Gardens (Buffett)having that type also...

        1. I have found MANY egg rolls here in Sacramento - from the smaller, crispy ones to the large, mouthfull kinds. Most supermarkets carry the large kinds - Raley's/Bel Air is the worst unfortunately. Many smaller Americanized Chinese places have very good versions. I have never received spring rolls instead of egg rolls in Sacramento. What places are you using to generalize about Sacramento?

          9 Replies
          1. re: Sacto_Damkier

            I've been to New Canton on Broadway, the Rice Bowl on Florin, Golden Palace on Truxel, Mayflower on L, plus at least 2 dozen other Chinese places in the Sacramento area, plus at least a dozen others between SF and Sac, and at least another dozen or more in SF, such as Yet Wah. 99% of them serve rice-paper wrapped spring rolls and label them as egg rolls on the menu.

            1. re: jerryd916

              Are you thinking of the thin-style egg rolls that are crisp and flaky? Those are (fortunately) very common, but are not made with rice paper. The thick and chewy ones are found at most supermarkets. PeterL is right about California egg rolls being much smaller than East Coast style.

              1. re: Sacto_Damkier

                The thin-style crisp flaky "eggrolls" are INDEED made with rice paper. I have made them that way at home, but of course I call them spring rolls. Go to any Vietnamese restaurant, and the kitchen staff will indeed confirm for you that they are made with rice-paper, and are EXACTLY what the vast majority of West Coast Chinese restaurants fraudulently call "eggrolls".

                1. re: jerryd916

                  Now you are just talking semantics. According to Wikipedia, "In mainland China, many Chinese-speaking regions of Asia, and Chinese immigrant communities around the world, egg roll is predominantly referred as the egg-based, flute-shaped pastry, with typically yellowish, flaky crust often eaten as a sweet snack or dessert ... The American style egg roll would commonly be referred as "fried spring roll" instead."

                  I have had many egg rolls here that meet your definition of an "egg roll" made with won ton wrappers, plus the other small and crispy egg rolls . In the end, we are both wrong since a true egg roll is a dessert!

                  Raley's has the style of egg rolls of which you are thinking. Attached is a photo of spring rolls made with spring roll wrappers (left) and rice paper (white). There is a clear difference in color. I have not had the rice paper ones served to me in a Chinese restaurant in Sacramento.

                  1. re: Sacto_Damkier

                    As a New York resident who has never been to Sacramento or eaten Chinese food out west, I'm wondering if Jerry is really looking for type of eggroll in the attached photo. This is the ubiquitous style of eggroll you would find in most NY Chinese take outs. I'm not making any claims to "rightness" or authenticity, but when I read/see the eggrolls discussed here, they all seem like what we here call spring rolls.

                    1. re: thebordella

                      Thank you! I do believe that you are the very first one to reply here that has a full grasp of the issue at hand. The picture you post is indeed the type of eggroll I'm still searching for.

                      1. re: jerryd916

                        I had a feeling ... I'd read elsewhere that the type of eggroll I posted is something of an "eastern" U.S. thing. I knew these were popular in New York, but didn't realize they went as far as Chicago.

                        It may well be a regional takeout phenomenon. I remember a meal at a very authentic Chinese restaurant with fabulously prepared regional specialties not at all like "takeout" Chinese. We shyly asked for a couple of eggrolls to go with the chef's recommended entrees and, truth be told, they weren't very good. (Everything else was excellent.) Leads me to believe that the eastern takeout egg roll is a domesticated interpretation -- a very delicious one.

                        Unfortunately, I don't know anything about Sacramento, so I'm of no further use!

                      2. re: thebordella

                        Posted off the wrong one....I want the egg roll in the picture from thebordella. Does anyone know how to make them? Nobody in California makes them....Hell if I knew how I would sell them.

                      3. re: Sacto_Damkier

                        Well that's what I have been looking for. Any idea how to make those? I grew up on the East Coast, and I miss that syle of Chinese food. I have searched the internet for years. Someone help me please!! I can just taste that egg roll!!!!

              2. Rice paper wrapped spring rolls are Vietnamese. The eggrolls in Calif are not like those in the East, which are usually much larger. But still here in Sacto Chinese restaurant eggrolls are still made with large won ton wrappers.

                7 Replies
                1. re: PeterL

                  I BEG you to name JUST ONE Sacto Chinese restaurant restaurant that serves eggrolls made with wonton wrappers! That was the whole gist of my original post. It seems like a trivial issue to nearly everyone, which is why Chinese restaurants can get away with such brazen fraud. Rice paper wrappers provide the extra-crispy flaky texture which gives seemingly health-conscious Californians the impression that they are somehow healthier than traditional eggrolls made with wonton wrappers, which provide a thicker slightly chewier yet still crispy crust, which I find infinitely more satisfying. I have made rolls at home, with rice-paper, which are exactly like spring rolls at any Vietnamese, Thai, and truthful Chinese restaurants, and on different occasions I have made real eggrolls using wonton wrappers, which turned out exactly as I remembered eggrolls from the rest of the US were. To confuse the issue, there is a third type of wrap, made with tapioca flour, which resembles the texture of rice paper after being deep fried. Some restaurants may actually be using these types of wrappers, but I have yet to find an authentic Chinese restaurant with any staff that are fluent enough in both English as well as as culinary terms that could accurately tell me what their "eggrolls" were made with.

                  1. re: jerryd916

                    I don't think I've ever had a Chinese eggroll or springroll made of rice paper...but I've only eaten eggrolls/springrolls in the Bay Area. If you think the closest proper eggroll in Sac is found in Jack in the Box, maybe you should try searching out places that might have that type of eggroll...maybe steam table places?

                    1. re: jerryd916

                      I seem to recall that Capital Tea Garden (11th & T Streets) has what you're looking for. (They're not really wonton skins, but the same kind of noodle, just much larger.) Or you could try any of a number of take-out places, as I recommended much earlier. Or you could try that buffet place near Arden Fair Mall I recommended, too.

                      1. re: ricepad

                        I will definitely give Capitol Tea Garden a try, thanks for the tip!

                        1. re: jerryd916

                          You might want to stop referring to these as 'authentic' or 'genuine', tho...they're not. They're just what you're used to calling 'eggrolls'. A zillion years ago, I worked in a Chinese take-out place (not in Sacramento) where very little of the customer base was Chinese, and we made the kind of egg roll you're seeking, and it was what the customers expected.

                          1. re: ricepad

                            Fair enough, you are correct. They are apparently no more authentic as chop suey or fortune cookies.

                      2. re: jerryd916

                        Take a drive past lake berryessa. Its about 20 miles from Winters and theres a little bar n grill called Turtle Rock. They make awesome egg rolls like you are referring to. They're well known for the egg rolls. We ride our harleys there 6 to 10 times a year just to have the egg rolls. Ask the locals, they'll tell ya where to find them

                    2. I think I saw what the op was looking for at the Nugget Market--check it out. I also know for sure Kong's Market in Santa Cruz has these types; great place to get the roll after a cold day of surfing...