23 Feb2010


Here’s yet another non-meat option for those abstaining during the lenten period. Vietnamese “fresh” spring rolls with mung bean noodles, shrimp, herbs and veggies wrapped in rice paper. They are pretty easy to make, but I always find mine are a bit bland, and it becomes all about the dipping sauces instead. But I always order these fresh spring rolls when given the chance. The opaque thin rice noodle wafers are now readily available in the larger groceries, sometimes oddly placed in the chilled section. First assemble your ingredients… Take some sotanghon and soak it in boiling water for a few minutes, drain and cool. Next steam and peel some medium sized shrimp and slice in half, removing the cooties while you are at it. Julienne some carrots and some cucumber. Wash some coriander (wansoy), mint and thai basil and remove just the leaves…


On a large flat plate or pizza pan, add hot water, dip the rice wrapper/disc for just 1-2 seconds, lay it flat on a clean kitchen towel. At one end of the wrapper, add some shrimp, herbs, noodles, cucumbers, carrots and more shrimp and herbs. Roll this up. I have to admit, I am not a great roller, so mine look totally amateurish. You can eat them this way, but they are rather bland and tasteless. I like to serve this with two different dipping sauces, one a peanut and hoisin based sauce and another lighter sauce with dayap, water, sugar, patis and chilis.



  1. deirdregurl says:

    hi mm, seemed like it’s working fine now. but earlier, i really couldn’t access this latest post. great one, btw!! many thanks!

    Feb 23, 2010 | 10:06 pm


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  3. junb says:

    There’s one I’ve tried a hubad version and serve as a salad….

    Feb 23, 2010 | 10:17 pm

  4. faith says:

    Oh! There we go. I was getting frustrated earlier that I couldn’t read the whole post. Hahaha. I really wanted to read about making this so I can try it out myself.

    Feb 23, 2010 | 10:22 pm

  5. Lou says:

    I’ve tried making this one time, actually it’s a great idea for this Lent season. Thanks MM. My sister taught me to season the filling with patis and lime juice, lightly.

    Feb 23, 2010 | 10:47 pm

  6. Vicky Go says:

    I’m all thumbs when dealing w wrappers – especially these thin ones. So I take the easy way out – order the fat fresh spring rolls at my fav Vietnamese resto! You are right MM – it’s all in the sauce. I prefer the peanutty one. I’ve had ones where ground peanuts are sprinkled on the filling before wrapping!

    Feb 23, 2010 | 10:58 pm

  7. nina says:

    I love this but I usually request my hubby to prepare them… I always order this when I get a chance. The one I had in Paris, has mung bean sprouts added into it.

    Feb 23, 2010 | 11:00 pm

  8. Betchay says:

    This is one of my all time favorites.I like the burst of flavor of the different herbs.So refreshing!(That’s the reason I have mint and thai basil in my garden!)If I dont have shrimps I just use boiled shredded chicken.I add togue and crushed peanuts too.Sometimes I add shredded pechay baguio or romaine lettuce.And you are right MM,the yummy factor comes from the dipping sauce.Only peanut-hoisin sauce for me!Here’s the recipe of the peanut sauce which I got from a US magazine(Sorry I dont remember what magazine)
    Saute 5 cloves of crushed garlic in 2 tbsp oil.Then add 1-2 red bird’s eye chili,5tbsp peanut butter,1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste, 3tbsp hoisin sauce,1 tsp sugar,1 tsp fish sauce,3/4 cup water.Let it boil then stir 40g crushed peanuts.
    I found out if I use chunky peanut butter then I dont have to add crushed peanuts.And if it’s too bothersome to open a pack of tomato paste for just a small amount, I used tomato ketchup instead.

    Feb 23, 2010 | 11:04 pm

  9. Mom-Friday says:

    thanks for posting this! my hubby always order this at Pho Hoa — and you’re right, it’s the dip that brings the flavor. Though I think if I make this one, I will wipe a thin layer of hoisin sauce inside the wrapper before rolling them up, just to give some taste to it :)

    BTW, i also had problems with loading your posts as your readers complained above. I’m still curious what recipes were suggested to the malunggay pods.

    Feb 24, 2010 | 12:08 am

  10. C.U.S. says:

    Hi Marketman!
    I add some mangoes to my rolls (even with the shrimp…don’t know if that’s weird)…not so bland!
    The dipping sauce naman you can mix some rice wine vinegar, dayap, patis plus fresh green chili.

    Feb 24, 2010 | 12:10 am

  11. nicolette says:

    I love fresh spring rolls. I always order them when I go to Pho Hoa. So when I went on a trip to Vietnam recently, I thought I’d be in heaven since we’d get to sample authentic spring rolls. Boy were we wrong. The ones we purchased in Ben Thanh Market had wrappers so tough we could hardly eat it. Totally different from what we get here locally.

    Feb 24, 2010 | 12:37 am

  12. betty q. says:

    For rice papers, MM…I find that the ones made with only tapioca starch easily tears and the ones made with just only rice flour are just a bit chewy for my taste. So, I found that the wrappers made with combination of rice flour and tapioca starch yields the rice paper that doesn’t tear easily, also has a bit of a bite, yet thin and sturdy!

    Can I share with you the way they wrap it at restos? Leaf lettuce (to cover 1/3 of the wrapper) or shredded iceberg and then your noodles, bean sprouts, shredded marinated carrots…and then fold wrapper over it pushing it to form sort of tight roll, then lay shrimp or sliced chicken or sliced grilled fish next and fold ends and continue rolling. This way you don’t see the noodles …

    Feb 24, 2010 | 12:41 am

  13. betty q. says:

    For Doc’s son…marinated tofu which comes in different flavours now…I am totally hooked to it and my family as well! Try it , Doc…slice the marinated firm tofu in thin strips, then add some hoisin and chee hou sauce, a tiny bit of soy chili garlic sauce in oil (bottles and it looks dark), add a bit of sesame oil. Marinate for a few hours and use that in place of shrimp. Masaaaarap, Doc!

    Feb 24, 2010 | 1:00 am

  14. Connie C says:

    Thanks bettyQ. You always have masarap ideas. I’ll do that next time. Now to find chee hou sauce.

    I can also get flavored tofu in a place we like to call Mactofu because this is all they sell: with spring onions, with lemongrass and chili flakes are our faves.
    If I don’t get to the place, or if the place gets too crowded with customers waiting a mile long, I simmer the tofu cakes in vegetable bouillon, drain then sprinkle with a little garlic salt then paint them in sesame oil and stick in the broiler oven to brown, then I use them for mapo tofu or salad topping or whatever.

    I may have to place some beano tablets on the side, tho.

    Feb 24, 2010 | 2:29 am

  15. kim says:

    this is one of my faves but never tried making them myself … will do one of these days … the place where we order it from somewhat had a very salty sauce so i improvise my own … yoshidas teriyaki sauce from costco w/ mayo, sriracha & ground nuts … a la chamba but whatever works : ) yummy pa ren !

    Feb 24, 2010 | 4:24 am

  16. chizzymomma says:

    hi mm, that looks yummy… i’ve tried making this at home using smoked salmon,greens and enoki mushrooms… boiled some bottled tamarind, a tad of chili sauce, patis and a bit of water as dipping sauce…really yummy and filling…

    thanks for sharing your recipes…

    Feb 24, 2010 | 4:36 am

  17. millet says:

    didn’t you mean the second sauce to say “dayap and patis”? yes, mine turn out blander than most vietnamese resto versions. i tried dousing the noodles in some of the dayap-patis mixture before rolling them, and it worked!

    Feb 24, 2010 | 9:19 am

  18. i love sta.rosa says:

    wow, ang sarap

    Feb 24, 2010 | 9:33 am

  19. pschomom says:

    some of the versions i have tasted used bihon instead of sotanghon. and the dipping sauce has some sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and chili flakes. some of them. they also have ground peanuts to add to the sauce.

    Feb 24, 2010 | 9:39 am

  20. zena says:

    When I made this, I had chopped up shiitake mushrooms and i had patis and calamansi mixed in the filling already. So no need for sawsawan, I sorta marinated the noodle and what have you in the calamansi and patis for about 15 mins before wrapping.

    Feb 24, 2010 | 10:35 am

  21. Anne says:

    hi MM, i usually make this one whenever i have to bring a dish for potluck bec it’s the easiest and fastest thing to make. i really love this dish and got and bought myself pounds and pounds of rice paper of this when i was in Vietnam. buti nalang they keep well. a very easy way of doing the peanut sauce is to get chili-garlic sauce and blend it with peanut butter.
    so, what else can i do with rice paper? as i have literally a cabinet full of this. :)

    Feb 24, 2010 | 10:47 am

  22. Vyan DP says:

    Oooh! I did this last year but minus the sotanghon. You wrap better than I do. :P I find the rice paper a bit harder to work with I ended up wasting 2-3 pieces before I can produce 1 decent wrap.

    Feb 24, 2010 | 10:58 am

  23. Marketman says:

    psychomom, yes, bihon does sometimes work better than sotanghon. And I LOVE the other suggestions in the comments about pre-marinating, wrapping, etc. Thank you.

    Feb 24, 2010 | 11:47 am

  24. TPS says:

    My two favorite food blogs (the other is https://luxirare.com/g%E1%BB%8Fi-cu%E1%BB%91n/) posting about Vietnamese spring rolls?! I’m taking this as a sign to make, or at least attempt to, some.

    Feb 24, 2010 | 12:01 pm

  25. terrey says:

    palit ko ana unya…hahahaha naibog ko dah!

    Feb 24, 2010 | 12:44 pm

  26. moni says:

    nicolette, in Saigon, go to Lemon Grass or Nam Giao Restaurant and order rice rolls with roasted shrimps. The eating places in Ben Thanh market are for the hoi polloi so no comparison with upscale restos in Makati.

    Feb 24, 2010 | 3:36 pm

  27. Anne :-) says:

    Is their a difference in taste if I use just a regular basil leaf? No Thai Basil leaf? Thanks!

    Feb 24, 2010 | 5:34 pm

  28. Miriam says:

    Ever tried it with tinapa flakes instead of shrimps? Dipping sauce: vinegar, honey or light syrup, lemon juice, and patis — YUMMY! You can also use molo wrappers then fry and serve with hoisin sauce. Great as an appetizer.

    Feb 24, 2010 | 6:05 pm

  29. asunta says:

    MM, I add sesame oil, salt and pepper to the drained noodles so that it is seasoned with flavor. It doesn’t turn out bland.

    Feb 24, 2010 | 7:12 pm

  30. fg says:

    We have “spring roll parties” at our home a few times a year. We lay all the ingredients out and we each roll our own. In addition to the traditional ingredients, we also stir-fry beef strips and onions with hoisin sauce and ground chicken with oyster sauce as our other “palamans” to add flavor. We use rice vermicelli noodles and also add ground peanuts to the sweet patis sauce. Close Vietnamese and Cambodian friends have taught us to make the spring rolls and the sauces and now we are all hooked!

    Feb 25, 2010 | 12:47 am

  31. hungrycurious says:

    if only there’s wansoy in my part of the woods! these are good for the lenten season, mm :)

    Feb 25, 2010 | 12:51 am

  32. fg says:

    I forgot to mention that we also fry up thin wonton strips and add that to the roll for added texture and crunch!

    Feb 25, 2010 | 1:26 am

  33. betty q. says:

    Hungrycurious: if there is something that I need and cannot do without or would like to taste, I try to grow my own….like the orange fleshed watermelon. The only thing I cannot grow is lanzones and atis. Mangoes, I can get from Mexico (Manila mangoes and Ataulfo variety). Cilantro is very easy to grow and germinates really fast…doesn’t need much room….you can growthem in milk cartons, take -out styrofoam congee containers. etc….you can use the whole plant….even the roots! If you can get a bunch of cilantro with the roots still intact, you can just cut the tops, use the tops and put the roots with a bit of stem in good rich soil and in no time at all, it will sprout new growth!

    Feb 25, 2010 | 2:43 am

  34. betty q. says:

    Ohhh…MM, just got an AHA moment! Since you have sisig readily availble there….how about experimenting with SISIG rolls like Peking Duck style…rice paper, leaf lettuce, hoisin smeared on the lettuce, puffed up sotanghon and topped with sisig and green onion brushes!

    Feb 25, 2010 | 2:53 am

  35. kiko says:

    I agree with you… it’s a personal favourite but without the dipping sauces it’s rather bland… but with all them combined the flavours just explode in your mouth… i also like the prawn/pork combination…

    Feb 25, 2010 | 7:10 am

  36. Mel Wood says:

    I also use this Vietnamese rice wrapper instead of our lumpia wrapper in fresh lumpia. It is good because the sauteed veggies is already seasoned and I don’t need sauce anymore with it.

    Feb 25, 2010 | 3:55 pm

  37. hungrycurious says:

    thanks bettyq. i was actually planning to do that since i love cilantro on anything! just don’t see any being sold in our market here so far :(

    Feb 25, 2010 | 9:24 pm

  38. thelma says:

    mel wood, that sounds like a good idea. i like making fresh lumpia
    and i make my wn lumpia wrapper. i will try your idea the next time
    i make fresh lumpia again….

    Feb 25, 2010 | 10:10 pm

  39. silly lolo says:

    BettyQ: Do you take boarders? I would love to be a boarder in your home. I would help in the garden and I am a killer in washing dishes!

    Feb 25, 2010 | 11:20 pm

  40. silly lolo says:

    Silly Lolo’s Funnies!
    Local popular expression: “What’s up with that”!??!
    West Coast Pinoy version: “Wassap por dat”!??!
    It is great to be Pinoy!
    Ok MM. You didn’t think I could do a non-green funnie, did you?

    Feb 25, 2010 | 11:36 pm

  41. betty q. says:

    Oh, SILLY LOLO! Our household would be totally thrilled and would consider it an honor and priviledge if you would grace us with yours and Silly Lola’s presence even for LIFE!!!

    It is indeed GREAT to be Pinoy! I must be behind the times…my son showed me this short clip on his lap top one day about this episode on the PACKING TAPE!!!! I literally fell off mychair and really landed on my behind!!!!!

    Feb 26, 2010 | 1:33 am

  42. pegi says:

    To bettyq: How about considering me as one of your friends? I cannot grow anything on my garden. especially i need to eat those orange watermelon. Thanks.

    Feb 26, 2010 | 5:01 am

  43. millet says:

    sillylolo, you are one truly silly lolo!

    bettyq, you’re busy as a bee, and very creative! about your sisig rolls suggestion, i guess zubuchon would work really well in these rolls, too.

    Feb 26, 2010 | 7:59 am

  44. betty q. says:

    OH, yeah Millet…Zubuchon ! and just like Homer Simpson dreaming of donuts…I can just dream of Zubuchon in these rolls!

    Pegi…you should know by now that we are ALL a part of MM’s virtual dining table…the BIGGEST ever, I think! Can you imagine 400+ visitors each day? BTW, where are you in US…if you are in Florida, Texas or San Diego, growing watermelons is a piece of cake. You have the warm weather needed. If I am able to grow watermelons up here in the North, you can grow watermelons where you are! I grow watermelons suited for our climate…started indoors first and then transplanted usually around last week of May and matures in 55 to 60 days from transplanting. The New Queen variety (an AAS winner at one time), orange fleshed is a winner in its own right….icebox type…VERY SWEET and crisp…not too many seeds. If you have a big bucket (like half a rain barrel), drill holes on the bottom and you can fill it with rich compost, soil, steer manure and you’re all set. I have mine growing in those BIG half rain barrels at the backyard and I let the vines sprawl. But the bulk of my vegetables and watermelons are grown on the community garden here where the sun shines ALL DAY LONG and no high rises around for the land is declared agricultural land!

    Sorry, MM…got carried away there and I am rambling now!…better quit while I am ahead…

    Feb 26, 2010 | 2:23 pm

  45. Marketman says:

    bettyq, almost 8,000 visitors daily to the site now, with roughly 15,000+ visitors who visit at least 2x a week. :)

    Feb 26, 2010 | 2:46 pm

  46. Cecilia says:

    Always loved these. I don’t know why I stopped making them … Thanks, MM, for this post.

    Feb 27, 2010 | 3:02 pm

  47. Kasseopeia says:

    JunB, I tried these “hubad” in Pho Bac a couple of years ago and it was awesome. Now I’m addicted and I order it everytime I go to that resto… but I still order the spring rolls. Nothing beats picking up these delicate things, feeling your teeth cutting through the springy noodles, the crunchy lettuce leaf, the moist shrimp and then tasting the flavors burst in your mouth one by one – the blandness of the glass noodles, the green-ness of the lettuce, the clean sea-saltiness of the shrimp, the jolt of the wansuy and the refreshing “aaahhh” of the mint.

    When I make these at home, I make the dipping sauce using (a lot of) hot water + Thai patis + dayap (in the past weeks, I used the Thai limes I brought back from the holidays) + chili flakes + a bit of brown sugar – basically a watered-down version of the dipping sauce. Then I use that to soak the glass noodles in. That way, I don’t dip my spring rolls anymore. (lazy lazy!)

    Feb 28, 2010 | 1:12 pm

  48. Edwin says:

    On my experience, Reyes’ Barbecue peanut sauce works well on this

    Feb 28, 2010 | 4:12 pm

  49. The Artist Chef says:

    Hi there Market Man! Seem a good try with the spring rolls. But you gotta know more the numerous ways to make their spring rolls. This is one of my favorite dishes here. I can’t eat it without the peanut sauce or the traditional Vietnamese dip with Fish Sauce.

    Nice one you lazy Market Man… :D

    Mar 2, 2010 | 6:21 pm

  50. sarahsarap says:

    Here’s sharing my spring rolls recipe for you and your wonderful readers.

    This party food always excites guests; it calls for eating with hands!

    4 oz (1/2 package) rice stick or bihon
    1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
    1 jicama, peeled and julienned
    1 cucumber, washed and julienned
    1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced lengthwise
    12 rice paper wrappers (available at oriental stores)
    romaine hearts lettuce leaves or leaf lettuce, washed and shredded
    cooked shrimps or poached/boiled chicken breasts, cut in long strips
    Handful cilantro leaves
    Handful mint leaves
    Optional: finely chopped roasted peanuts, chopped avocados, chopped mangoes
    Sweet thai chili sauce or hoisin sauce

    Dipping Sauce 1 (Sesame):
    1/4 cup hoisin sauce 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/2 cup hot water

    Dipping Sauce 2 (Sweet Thai Chili):
    1/4 cup sweet Thai chili sauce 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
    2 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon patis or fish sauce

    Dipping Sauce 3 (Peanut Butter):
    1/2 cup smooth peanut butter 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
    1/3 cup coconut milk water to thin sauce

    Bring a pot of water to a boil and turn off heat. Soak bihon/noodles in the hot water and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove, rinse under cold water, spread on a baking sheet lined with paper towel, pat dry with paper towel and set aside.

    Into a large round baking pan, pour hot tap water. Hold the rice paper, one at at time and submerge the entire rice paper until moistened, about 30 seconds. Place flat on a cutting board. Top with a little of each filling ingredients, drizzle with thai sweet sauce or hoisin sauce and roll tightly, folding sides over filling and rolling up to seal. Repeat with rest of rice paper. Cut in half and serve with dipping sauce.

    For Dipping Sauce (1) and (2), whisk together. For Dipping Sauce (3), in a small saucepan, melt the peanut butter and stir in remaining ingredients, mixing until heated through, about 2 minutes. If thin sauce is desired, add enough hot water for desired consistency.

    Mar 3, 2010 | 5:09 am

  51. edel says:

    thanks for the post… my aunts and i had fun last night making the spring rolls using your recipe ingredients… later today, will try it with ripe mango & tuna (ala maki). cheers!

    Mar 3, 2010 | 10:39 am

  52. manilamom says:

    tried your recipe MM, the first one that i’ve tried from your website and i did it!!!! been lurking around your site for more than a year and it’s only now that i’ve mustered enough courage to try a recipe from your site. thanks a lot MM! now what to do with the cup of leftover peanut butter and hoisin sauce that i made….

    Mar 4, 2010 | 12:13 pm

  53. kat says:

    hello, where can i buy the rice paper? thanks!

    Jun 18, 2011 | 2:19 pm

  54. Marketman says:

    kat, they sell them in large groceries like Cash & Carry, Unimart, S&R, Rustan’s etc.

    Jun 18, 2011 | 6:28 pm


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