During your Vietnam travel, besides visiting some famous tourist attractions, you should enjoy Vietnamese rolls to experience the artful interplay of flavors and textures of Vietnamese food. From classic recipes passed down through generations to modern twists on beloved treats, Vietnamese rolls are truly irresistible. Read on to discover the ingredients, dipping sauces, and some places to enjoy these specialties.
1. What's in a Vietnamese roll?
On the Vietnam food list, Vietnamese rolls, often called "goi cuon," hold a special place. These rolls show how creative the country’s cuisine is and how much Vietnamese people love fresh, balanced flavors and different textures. The World Records Union (WorldKings) has even recognized Vietnam as the country with the most delicious rolls globally. There are an impressive 103 different types of preparation and rich ingredient combinations. This diversity allows Vietnamese rolls to cater to a broad spectrum of tastes, ensuring their popularity across the country.
The idea behind Vietnamese rolls is to combine numerous ingredients to create a delicious bite. These rolls can be filled with a range of proteins, including shrimp, pork, beef, fish, or even tofu for vegetarians, making them suitable for a wide array of preferences. Vietnamese people also throw in some rice vermicelli noodles for extra texture. What really makes these Vietnamese rolls pop are the dipping sauces. You can dip them in peanut sauce, fermented anchovy sauce, black bean sauce, etc. These sauces come in different flavors, from sweet to savory to a little spicy, so you can play around with how you like them.
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2. Top 7 most popular and delicious Vietnamese rolls
2.1. Pho rolls
While Pho rolls originated in Hanoi, you can now find them all over Vietnam, showcasing their wide popularity and the country's culinary creativity. These rolls put a delightful twist on the famous Vietnamese noodle soup, "pho”. The rice noodles are made from a mixture of rice flour and cornstarch, shaped into thin strips, and steamed. Meanwhile, the beef is marinated in soy sauce and other spices before being stir-fried with bean sprouts for added flavor. These Vietnamese rolls are often served with a dipping sauce made of fish sauce, sugar, minced garlic and chili, pickled carrots, and green papaya. The addition of pickled carrots and green papaya adds a delightful crunch and a refreshing contrast to the savory rolls.
2.2. Vietnamese salad rolls
Vietnamese salad rolls are a beloved snack in the northern regions of Vietnam. You will often find these Vietnamese rolls at local eateries selling Vietnamese salad. While the basics of salad rolls usually include unripe papaya and grated carrots, what makes them special in this region is the filling. Instead of dried beef, these rolls feature fermented pork rolls and pork skin. It is a delightful twist on the traditional salad roll, offering a unique taste of the region. The best part about Vietnamese salad rolls is that they are incredibly easy to prepare. Vietnamese salad roll dipping sauce is often made with garlic, chili, sugar, fish sauce, and vinegar.
2.3. Vietnamese spring rolls
Vietnamese spring rolls, also called "nem ran," are a traditional dish you will often find on Vietnamese dining tables during special occasions. The ingredients of Vietnamese spring rol are minced pork, eggs, shredded carrots, shiitake mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, vermicelli noodles, and onions in delicate rice paper. Some people fill these Vietnamese rolls with seafood or shape them into squares, offering exciting variations. When they are fried until golden and crispy, you get a satisfying crunch followed by a flavorful filling. What really elevates the experience is the dipping sauce – a sweet and spicy mix of vinegar, sugar, minced garlic, and a touch of chili, paired perfectly with these crispy delights.
2.4. Vietnamese summer rolls
Vietnamese summer rolls have become a hit worldwide thanks to their delicious taste and unique look. These rice paper rolls are filled with yummy ingredients like shrimp, thin slices of pork, rice vermicelli, and lots of fresh herbs. You can now find these Vietnamese rolls in fancy restaurants in the United States, South Korea, Australia, and other places. They have even earned a spot on CNN's list of the 50 most delicious foods in the world. And if you are into plant-based dishes, you should enjoy Vietnamese veggie rolls. Instead of pork and shrimp, they use tofu and a bunch of veggies. These Vietnamese rolls are a true embodiment of Vietnam's culinary artistry that transcends borders and dietary choices.
2.5. Vietnamese steamed rice rolls
Vietnamese steamed rice rolls, or "banh cuon," are a familiar dish you can find all over Vietnam. These Vietnamese rolls are pretty straightforward, just like their name suggests - they are made mainly from rice. Rice is a big deal in Vietnamese cuisine, and it is the star here too. To get the perfect banh cuon, you need good-quality rice. It should be just right, not too soft or too hard, so you can grind it into a fine powder without turning it into liquid. Besides rice flour, you will find different ingredients depending on where you are in Vietnam.
In Hanoi, they love these Vietnamese rolls with ground pork and mushrooms. In Cao Bang, they add eggs and bone broth for richness. But in Nghe An, they keep it simple with just the rice rolls, and no fillings. When you enjoy banh cuon, it is usually served with "cha que," which is roasted cinnamon pork, adding some savory goodness. There is also a sweet and sour dipping sauce that goes perfectly with the rolls, and fresh herbs to brighten up each bite.
2.6. Rice paper rolled with pork
Among numerous kinds of Vietnamese rice paper rolls, rice paper Vietnamese roll with pork, or "banh trang cuon thit heo," is a delicious blend of flavors and textures that come together beautifully. It all starts with tender, seasoned pork, cooked just right and thinly sliced for a savory treat. These Vietnamese rolls also feature a mix of fresh herbs like lettuce, mint, and bean sprouts, adding a refreshing touch. But that is not all – there are a bunch of veggies in the mix too, like unripe bananas, juicy pineapples, and crisp carrots.
To enjoy this dish, you simply wrap these tasty ingredients in delicate rice paper, creating a delightful bundle of goodness. And for that perfect finishing touch, dip these Vietnamese rolls in some fermented fish sauce to add a bit of salty tang. Let’s get ready for a culinary adventure as your taste buds savor the wonderful and unique flavors of these Vietnamese rice paper rolls.
2.7. Rice paper rolled with pork lemongrass skewers
The rice paper rolls with pork lemongrass skewers are a highlight of Hue's culinary scene. The magic begins with the filling, where lean pork is mixed with diced pork rinds and a bit of lard that has been marinated with salt, pepper, sugar, and mushrooms. When they hit the grill, these spring rolls become incredibly fragrant. These grilled spring rolls are rolled with care on delicate rice paper, accompanied by an array of fresh raw vegetables and tangy pickled vegetables. When you dip these Vietnamese rolls into the dipping sauce, every bite becomes unforgettable - a mix of savory and tangy that is hard to beat.
3. How to make Vietnamese roll sauce?
3.1. Dipping sauce from black beans
Creating the perfect black bean dipping sauce may seem simple, but it involves a few steps to get that just-right flavor. Here is how to make it:
- 300g soy sauce
- 1.5 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1/2 tsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced purple onion
- 1/2 tbsp minced chili
- 2 tbsp peanuts
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- Blend the soy sauce with 50 ml of filtered water.
- Heat up some cooking oil in a pan. Add the minced onions and garlic, and sauté until they are fragrant.
- Add the blended soy sauce, peanut butter, and sugar to the pan. Mix them up well.
- If the sauce gets too thick, just add 50 ml of water and keep stirring until it is smooth. You can adjust the amount of water to your liking.
- Once the sauce is nicely thickened, add the vinegar and stir it in.
- Transfer your tasty black bean dipping sauce to a bowl.
To make it even more delicious when you are having it with Vietnamese rolls, throw in some fresh chili and crushed peanuts. It is a simple way to take your dipping experience to the next level and enjoy some amazing flavors.
3.2. Vietnamese fermented anchovy sauce
To make your Vietnamese rolls even more delicious and appealing, you cannot go without fermented anchovy sauce, a sauce that carries a unique and unmistakable Vietnamese flavor. Fermented anchovy sauce is like magic for your dinner table, and it pairs perfectly with many dishes like spring rolls and pork belly.
- 110g fermented anchovy sauce
- 70g white sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced pineapple
- 40 ml pineapple juice
- 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon minced lemongrass
- 1/2 tablespoon minced chili
- Start by straining the fermented anchovy sauce into a pot to remove any bits.
- Add in the white sugar and 110 ml of filtered water. Stir until the sugar dissolves, and let it come to a boil.
- Once it is boiling, add the pineapple juice, minced lemongrass, and minced garlic. Stir it well and let it cook for about 1 minute.
- Take it off the heat and transfer the fermented anchovy sauce to a bowl.
- When you are ready to dig in, toss in the minced pineapple and chili, give it a good stir, and you have a delicious dipping sauce that's ready to take your meal to the next level.
3.3. Fish sauce with chili, garlic, and lime juice
Lemon garlic chili fish sauce finds its way onto many family meal tables due to its deliciously harmonious flavor. It is a versatile sauce that pairs well with a variety of dishes. Here is a straightforward recipe to make this popular Vietnamese summer roll dipping sauce at home:
- 70 ml fish sauce
- 60g white sugar
- 40 ml lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon minced chili
- In a bowl, mix together the fish sauce, white sugar, and lemon juice along with 80 ml of filtered water. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Add the minced garlic and minced chili to the mixture. For an extra touch of elegance, make sure the garlic and chili are finely minced. When you add them to the fish sauce, they will float gracefully on the surface, not only enhancing the flavor but also making the sauce look more appealing.
3.4. Dipping sauce from soybean and peanut
If you are in search of an effortless and scrumptious option, be sure to save this Vietnamese roll peanut sauce recipe. This sauce offers a distinctive fusion of creamy peanut butter and savory soy sauce, making it a delightful choice. What's more, it's suitable for vegetarians and serves as an excellent dipping sauce for your classic Vietnamese rolls, so give it a shot.
- 50 ml soy sauce
- 45g peanut butter
- 1/2 tablespoon minced chili
- Heat a pan on low and add 45g of peanut butter and 50 ml of soy sauce.
- Stir and mash them together until you have a smooth mixture.
- Take it off the heat and transfer the sauce to a bowl.
- When you are ready to enjoy it, add 1/2 tablespoon of minced chili for an extra kick of flavor.
4. Vietnamese roll restaurants: Where to enjoy the best flavor?
Vietnam is home to a bustling food scene with numerous eateries specializing in rolled dishes. Some notable ones include Ngu Xa Pho Roll, Wrap & Roll, and Cuon Viet. These places have mastered the art of creating delicious Vietnamese rolls, offering a wide range of flavors and fillings. From classic spring rolls filled with fresh herbs and tasty meats to creative twists that cater to different tastes, these restaurants ensure there's a roll for everyone.
Furthermore, the vibrant street food scene in Vietnam offers flavors that rival even those of upscale restaurants. Travelers have the opportunity to savor these delectable street treats for themselves while exploring popular destinations like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and Ha Long.
In these charming cities, it is highly recommended that you stay at the hotels and resorts of Vinpearl. Vinpearl is widely regarded as the premier brand of accommodations in Vietnam, with all of its properties offering exceptional facilities and top-quality amenities, including scenic-view rooms, spas, lounges, swimming pools, etc. Tourists can also unwind at the world-class entertainment system of VinWonders. VinWonders Vietnam offers a diverse range of entertainment options, including thrilling rides, exciting water parks, and impressive performances.
Vietnamese rolls go beyond being a delicious delicacy; they capture the core of tradition, culture, and culinary artistry. From traditional spring rolls to innovative variations, these rolls have captured the attention and taste buds of people around the world. With their simplicity, freshness, and rich flavors, Vietnamese rolls are sure to tantalize your taste buds. If you intend to visit Vietnam on your upcoming holiday, be sure to sample this delightful dish.