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Feb 8, 2008 07:50 AM

MSP - Spring Rolls

who has the best??

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  1. Jasmine Deli. Excellent peanut sauce. Yum!

    15 Replies
    1. re: Cassandra

      Quang has more herbs.. but the sauce is the thin kind (I like that better.. you can add hoisin at the table).

      1. re: reannd

        I'm not sure what you mean by 'the thin kind'--are you referring to the fish sauce that comes with the fried rolls? I've never added hoisin to that.

        When I order fresh spring rolls, it's served with hoisin sauce that has some crushed peanuts and garnish of pickled daikon and carrot. I usually add hot sauce at the table.

        1. re: Enso

          I think he means it is a peanut sauce, but with less hoisin in it. Quang's abundance of herbs gives it more of an authentic taste in my opinion since my grandma always has a lot of herbs in hers. I've always thought that Quang's sauce is very sweet, wouldn't you agree?

          Edit: Actually, I don't even think it is a peanut sauce. It might be a sweet plum sauce.

          1. re: David_Minh

            I'm a she, and what I mean is yes I think they serve them w.the fried spring roll type sauce (even though they're fresh spring rolls) @ Quang.

            They do not serve hoisin sauce in a bowl, I do'nt think.. because I know it's available at the table if you choose to do hoisin+sriracha yourself.

            No point of contention, just different. I like the thin sauce (my name for it) better than peanut sauce myself.

            1. re: reannd

              Interesting terminology note - in the Twin Cities, the uncooked (not fried) rolls are called "spring rolls," and the fried rolls are called "egg rolls."

              In other places, I've seen the name "egg rolls" used to mean the Chinese-style fried rolls, "spring rolls" for the Vietnamese-style fried rolls, and "summer rolls" for the uncooked kind.

              I wonder why that is? (Regionalism fascinate me...)


              P.S. My vote for the best non-fried spring rolls is Saigon - I love the ones with grilled pork, rice noodles, and mint.

              1. re: AnneInMpls

                Hi Anne, Here in L.A., Spring Rolls are the fresh (unfried) ones and the fried ones are called Imperial Rolls at Vietnamese restaurants but called Egg Rolls in Chinese Restaurants. I have never heard the term Summer Rolls.

            2. re: David_Minh

              Does anyone know for sure, or, heck, even have an opinion, what the dipping sauce is at Quang's for fresh spring rolls? I always thought it was hoisin sauce, maybe cut with something (plum sauce? though that doesn't seem quite right). When I've used hoisin sauce (and the aforementioned garnishes) with homemade ones it seems darn close, if not the actual thing.

              1. re: Enso

                Their phone number is 612-870-4739. I just called and asked what the name of the sauce they serve with their fresh spring rolls is and she said "hoisin sauce." I asked if they made it themselves and she said "yes." It's remarkable what a restaurant will tell you about their food if you simply ask. Maybe next time you're there you say something like, "I love this wonderful homemade hoisin sauce you serve, I wouldn't suppose you could tell me what your secret ingredient is?" Maybe they'll tell you what's in it. And if that person doesn't know, if you get a different person next time, ask that person. You never know. Not that long ago, I sent an email to a hotel restaurant (out of town) saying I'd stayed at their place and especially enjoyed dish X at their restaurant and asked if they could share the recipe. I sent the email to two places--one to "reservations" and the other to "customer service." The reservations folks answered the next day and provided the recipe. Customer service answered about a day after that saying, "Sorry, we can't give out our recipes." So, you never what you'll get if you simply ask a question or two, combined with some genuine flattery.

                I hope that helps--in the meantime, maybe head over to the home cooking board and see if anyone has posted a nice recipes for homemade hoisin sauce.



                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Thanks for the investigative reporting. I've used that technique in the past. I'm happy with the homemade version of springrolls (fresh) and sauce that I make. But I would dearly love to get the skinny on their broth for sea bass & shrimp soup. So far, all I've gotten is one claim that there is no chicken broth in it. If you, or any of the other 'hounds with silver tongues can get more, I'm dying to know!

                  PS: I mostly believe the no chicken broth claim. There is a definite orange tinge to the broth so my suspicion is they start with the water used to cook the shrimp they use in that and other dishes. Which means it wouldn't do me any good anyway due to allergy issues in the Enso household. I think I may have to just find a decent non-shellfish seafood broth recipe and hope that the rest of the ingredients/condiments make it all work.

                  1. re: Enso

                    I can tell you their vegetarian soup broth is made with stewed apples.. a server at Quang told me once (most veg soup broth still has chicken base). Random, but awesome.

                    1. re: reannd

                      I had that vegetarian soup at Quang yesterday for lunch, and boy is it ever delicious. I have always suspected onions to be the source of its amazing sweetness, who knew it was apples?

                      As an aside, or i suppose back to the original, now-settled point, the sauce we were served with our fresh spring rolls was a medium brown, heavy-bodied sauce that certainly seemed hoisin-y, but was markedly lighter in color than the kikoman branded hoisin that sits on Quang's tables regularly. It seems interesting that they make their own to serve with the rolls but serve bottled for other purposes . . . any guess as to the (more substantive) differences?

                    2. re: Enso

                      omg the sea bass soup at quang. . . i swear it could make the stones cry. i could write poetry about it. never asked about what goes into the broth i just gratefully slurp my whole bowl of liquid sunlight and then go about my biz with a 3 foot wide happy glow around myself.

                      but my guess would be fish heads and shrimp peels, and then a bunch of other stuff. probably a pita to make, hence only offering the sea bass soup on the weekend.

                      curses! now i want quang and it is tuesday, & they are closed.

                      1. re: soupkitten

                        and even if it weren't tuesday, you still couldnt get your sea bass soup ;)

                        as far as i am concerned weekdays are the reason the vegetarian noodle soup was created. yeah not getting that seabass soup hurts, but that broth in the veg soup makes it almost all the way better.

                        1. re: tex.s.toast

                          good to know-- on weekdays i go for the regular pho tai, mostly, but i suppose i could stand to change it up once after 10 years. . . must admit that the apple stock idea has me curious.

                          1. re: soupkitten

                            i must warn you once you go there its hard to go back... at least one of us orders (husband or i) it every time we go, and we go often. glad to hear others find it as thrilling as we do:)

        2. In my opinion, the best spring rolls are at Rice Paper in Linden Hills - and the peanut sauce is to die for.

          1 Reply
          1. re: AVAG

            I could bathe in Rice Paper's peanut sauce. It is amazing.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. I've only been to one place that called egg rolls (fried rolls) fried spring rolls, and that place was not authentic in any way, shape or form. So I guess that I've always thought that that terminology was incorrect.

              1. re: David_Minh

                When I was in Vietnam a few years ago the restaurants referred to the fried rolls as spring rolls, and the "fresh" rolls as summer rolls. Also, I've been to several (mostly Chinese) places where egg rolls were deep fried using wonton wrappers and spring rolls were deep fried using rice paper wrappers. I also know that last month at Pho Tau Bay I had a fried spring roll and my husband had a fresh spring roll.

                1. re: katebauer

                  yeah they're different. in my experience fried spring rolls usually have clear noodles, too.. at least they did in thailand. most of the time they are fried.

                  come to think of it, the only fresh spring rolls i had in thailand were at a vietnamese restaurant and int'l grocery next to pho. they do put other things in rice paper rolls on the street side, but it wasn't really the same fresh spring rolls we see here. what's random is my good friend who is thai makes the best vietnamese spring rolls this side of the ocean! =) she doesn't use peanut sauce, though.. just clear stuff (not the chili sauce, just the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, lime juice, chilis), or hoisin & sriracha.

            2. I hope we can get back to the OP's question - it seems to me like when I was a kid (in the 80's and 90's), spring rolls (or fresh rolls or whatever you want to call them) were far more herby and the meat was more flavorful than today's spring rolls, and nearly all were served with the fish-sauce concoction that's now typically served with the fried rolls (in Vietnamese places anyway). Maybe my memory is failing me though - can anyone compare their 80's - 90's Twin Cities spring roll experiences?

              Anyway, what I remember is what I continue to seek: herbiness (preferably mint and cilantro at least), flavorful meat (preferably pork and shrimp), and preferably fish sauce served alongside (and not that super-sweet corn syrupy crap some places try to pass off, either). But I've got to say, it's been many years since I've had a spring roll that has met with my expectations, and I can't even remember where they used to have good ones. I'm beginning to wonder if they're still out there.

              So: are they?

              7 Replies
              1. re: diesel

                I don't want to be a record, but what you describe to me is exactly what you'll find at Quang. Flavory Red Pork, many herbs, a split shrimp, and the fishsauce to taste.

                The only better *was* at Phuket Thai (now defunct), and only because they had even fewer noodles inside.


                1. re: reannd

                  Not record-sounding at all - it helps to know exactly why people like the spring rolls they like - thanks!

                  1. re: diesel

                    Maybe you can ask them to throw in some extra herbs when you place your order?

                2. re: diesel

                  I'd like to know, too, diesel. I haven't been satisfied with the amount of herbs in Quang's, though that's where we eat Vietnamese food most often.

                  We like to make our own. Great fun to build 'em yourself at the table from whatever proportion of ingredients you've prepared. I bought these plastic, perforated stacking trays that you put a wet "rice paper" (most of them are actually made from flour/tapioca) wrapper on. Instant fun and deliciousness.

                  1. re: Enso

                    My family and I love to do "make your own" rice paper dinners every month or so. We have so many different kinds of meats, herbs and sauces that we use. Sometimes we even have calamari, baby octopus and squid that we would cook in a crock pot type of thing, but usually it is just steamed walleye with beef and shrimp. Additionally my Grandma would make a spicier, fishier fish sauce with it. I'm pretty sure plenty of families do this type of thing.

                    There used to be a restaurant on highway 13 in Burnsville called Little Saigon that would have make your own spring roll options, but they closed a couple of months ago. Is there any other places that are currently doing this?

                    1. re: David_Minh

                      Much as it is a board whipping boy (and, frankly, probably rightfully so) Mai Village has a build your own fresh spring rolls, if i remember correctly. I can't vouch for what was in em or how they were (this is all based on a none too recent experience where a friend ordered them) but im pretty sure they are on the menu there.

                      To contribute to the whole spring/egg roll regionalism thing, i grew up in San Francisco and have NEVER heard "Summer Rolls" before. Egg rolls are, in my mind, firmly a chinese food phenomenon, and spring rolls can come either fresh or fried, though i would probably default to assuming they were fresh unless otherwise specified.

                      1. re: tex.s.toast

                        I had the build-your-own spring rolls at Que Nha, I think it was. That's where we were first introduced to the oh-so-fun trays.