Goi cuon, spring rolls, and those do-it-yourself rolls... confused.
I tried doing a search, but for some reason I couldn't find what I was looking for.
I often get confused when ordering spring rolls at a vietnamese restaurant. I believe Goi Cuon is the actual name for spring rolls (the NON-fried type), right? There are plenty of times when I've gone to Vietnamese restaurants and I've meant to get an already prepared roll and have gotten the DIY rolls instead, and vice versa. Ive tried to simply just ask a waiter but often I get the "what the hell are you talking about" look. How do you know which is which when looking at a menu?
Thanks in advance!
Just look at the Viet side of the menu.
"Gỏi cuốn" (literally, salad rolls) are un-fried, already-assembled rolls with lettuce, herbs, noodles, pork and shrimp, and served with peanut sauce (usually).
"Chả giò" (pronounced "chah yaw", the southern term) or "nem rán" (the northern term) are the deep-fried crispy rolls with meat filling, served with nước chấm, the chili-garlic-sweet fish sauce. Chả giò (by far the more common term) are usually served with lettuce leaves, herbs and sometimes pickles, so you can create your own wrap.
These terms never vary -- if you see "chả giò", it always, ALWAYS means the same dish, and the same with "gỏi cuốn".
The generic term for any wrap setup is "cuốn".
I don't think there's a clearer explanation then DasUbergeek's, but occasionally the DIY sets have the term "khay" next to them which means "tray", esp at the nem nuong places.