Egg Rolls with crispy burnt tips?
Is there anywhere to find old school style open-ended eggrolls with burnt edges that are thick and crunchy when you bite into them; full of pork, not just cabbage? I grew up eating these in Montreal (over 20+ years back) although they've disappeared almost entirely from my hometown as well. I'm pretty sure these were an old East Coast staple of Cantonese restaurants during the mid-century boom. We use to eat them religiously with fried rice and dry garlic spareribs every Sunday night and would pass by after school during the week and take out paper bags with containers of thick plum sauce - also not the generic sweet yellow stuff that you find on tables today. Is there anywhere to find this style of egg roll in San Francisco?
re: c oliver
If the Filling is made of mostly raw Meat it just seals in the hot Oil.
Lumpia Shanghai and Nem rán/Chả giò can both be done open ended with out filling with Oil. Tu Lan in SF used to do them that way among other places.
It allows you to make full length Rolls and cut into smaller sections thus cutting the Labor considerably on bite size Rolls(and with 16" Rice Papers it make a really big difference)
But I do not think that is what the Poster is talking about.
Lumpia Shanghai and Nem rán/Chả giò are assembled with raw meat and then deep fried? Are they really thin?
In Chinese-American style egg rolls, the ingredients (ground pork or turkey meat, cabbage, shrimp, bean sprouts etc.) are cooked (meat) or quickly blanched (vegetables) in boiling water first. The ingredients are allowed to separately drain a little, then mixed.
Spices (soy sauce, white pepper) are added and then the mixture is allowed to drain well before final assembly.
The purpose of deep frying them is to really only heat them up and get the exterior skin golden brown. (In many Chinese-American restaurants the egg rolls are deep fried twice. First right after initial assembly and then when they are ordered. After the first deep fry they can then be stored in the fridge or freezer.)
If the oil is hot enough, it won't seep into anything you fry. Soggy, oily egg rolls are due to too low oil temperature.
As i said these are not the Egg Rolls that the OP is referencing.
Lumpia Shanghai are Probably about .75" in Diameter
Nem rán/Chả giò can be up to an Inch but are usually about 3/4s as well.
They are both made with raw ground Pork as the main Ingredient.
Nem rán/Chả giò when made with Rice Papers are often twice fried since the paper takes a long time to brown.
The Wrapper used for Chinese-American style Egg Rolls and are quite Doughy and need a good little while in the Oil to cook even though the Filling is completely cooked. A secondary frying would be only for heating and crisping.
If you have a tear in your wrapper with shredded Vegetable filling your Roll will leak oil no matter how hot the Oil.
I grew up in The Bronx which is quintessentially East Coast US in the 50s and 60s. I ate a lot of Chinese takeout egg rolls from Cantonese-run Chinese-American restaurants and grab-and-go Merit Farms egg rolls in that time, and never in my life have I seen an open-ended egg roll. I think they must be limited to Montreal & surrounding areas, and if found elsewhere, must be in places run by displaced Montrealers.
That said, there was a lot more pork in those NYC (closed-end) egg rolls back in the day. Multiple layers of wrapper, so crunchy initially, then chewy. Wow.
Of course, now that you talked about them, I want an open-ended one!
I had family in Manhattan in the '80s and we used to visit regularly throughout the decade and through 90's (we still go every other year) but I definitely remember having them in New York. They weren't as common as the classic thick NYC style rolls with the pressed ends; but you could definitely find them across the East Coast. The tips add an extra crunchy texture and they were probably fried in peanut oil back then which added extra flavour too!
I was able to dig up a photo online:
Sounds like a regional adaptation/bastardization...like Montreal vs. NYC bagels. I've never seen an egg roll like that, especially the burnt end...but why would I?
Before mass media, regional specialties or differences were more common since word of mouth didn't travel the same way. My mother's family owned/ran a Chinese take-out in Chicago. They definitely made a few dishes differently, like tomato beef. In the Bay Area and HK it's usually a catsup-y and sweet deal that's bright red. In Chicago it was made with black bean, garlic, bell pepper and no sweet stuff except the tomato (in season).