There is a legend that says the Vietnamese Gỏi Cuốn (Real translation: Salad Roll), better known as "spring rolls" was invented during the time of king Nguyễn Huệ Quang Trung during a famous battle where he ordered his men to carry each other on hammocks so that one can rest and sleep while others kept moving.
Because they were on the go constantly need needed "mobile" meals. They invented the spring roll dish as it could be eaten on the go, cold, and the ingredients were light to carry. We've attempted to research the history in both English and Vietnamese and our results turned up empty. Even searching for history of rice paper yielded a result of Chinese paper and not the food we know today as Vietnamese so we are going to go ahead with the legend passed down to us =).
We've written a blog on how to make Vietnamese spring rolls, how to roll the perfect spring rolls, and our most read article, how to reheat spring rolls. We want to share more about what makes the Vietnamese spring rolls so popular and delicious.
In most restaurants you will find the most basic spring roll: boiled shrimp and pork with basil and mint, cucumbers, cilantro, and rice noodles. While some dishes may have a crunchy mango, green apple and even green banana, it's the herbs, cucumber and rice noodles that make the familiar dish. We've seen places that add bell peppers or pickled vegetables, even glass noodles. They are free to invent but it wouldn't exactly be authentic.
The traditional herbs that accompany spring roll are listed here but you won't find it in most mainstream restaurants. A lot of people aren't accustomed to Vietnamese herbs and might find it repulsive, notably the "Fish scale herb", heck even some Vietnamese people can't stand it, but for many it tastes amazing and it wouldn't be salad roll without it.
What makes these rolls so popular is how versatile it is. It can be an appetizer or main course and you can roll anything you want in it. Shrimp is most popular because of it's visual appeal in the roll. The balance of herbs and flavors appeal to many and important for most, it's very healthy and refreshing.
For those who are aiming for low carb diets, they can opt out of noodles. The noodles are gluten free. The rolls don't have heavy wrappers, deep fried or stuffed with cheese and cream. Most of flavors come from the herbs and sauce which are full of vitamins and antioxidants. If you use Bun Mi Vietnamese Grill's dipping sauces, they contain goji berries for additional superfood power.
At Bun Mi Vietnamese Grill, our spring rolls are unique . All of our proteins are grilled with a nice smoky flavor. It's well marinated as well, so not your typical boiled meat spring roll. We also have a special house made sauce. While we love the traditional peanut sauce, we want to keep our restaurant as allergen friendly as possible. All of our other house made sauces go well with the rolls as well.