Gỏi cuốn or nem cuốn, salad roll, summer roll, fresh spring roll, spring roll, rice paper roll, is a Vietnamese dish traditionally consisting of pork, prawn, vegetables, bún, and other ingredients wrapped in Vietnamese bánh tráng.
Why do people like Goi cuon
Fried spring roll is well-known around the world while fresh spring roll is a famous dish in southern Vietnam. And there is more than that… From Pho rolls (sister version of Pho noodle) to Banh Cuon or Bo cuon la lot, they are all incredibly delicious. Some dishes like fresh spring roll or popiah are believed to come from China, but they are then modified to be able to use ingredients available in Vietnam and to suit the local people’s tastes. They become the best foods in Vietnam and are loved by people around the world.
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Ingredients that go into Goi cuon
- rice paper wrappers (bánh tráng): they come in different size and shape. I often use the round ones with a diameter of 8.5” – 9”. You will sometimes see the square ones which can also be used. Brown rice paper wrappers are also sold at many stores these days, and I use them too.
- shrimps: the shrimps provide sweetness to the rolls. Drop them in boiling water for a couple of minutes so they are just cooked through. It’s important not to overcook or they’ll be rubbery and dry.
- pork: you can choose from pork shoulder, tenderloin or pork belly. I like to use fairly lean pork. The pork shouldn’t be overcooked or they’ll be so dry and tasteless.
- lettuce: use soft lettuce to avoid tearing the wrappers.
- fresh herbs: typically, chives and Thai basil (hung que) are used in these Southern Vietnamese spring rolls. You can also use cilantro, spearmint or even peppermint, depending on what you can find.
- rice vermicelli noodles (bún): they add softness as well as give structure to the rolls. But I myself have made spring rolls without noodles so many times, so don’t stress if you don’t have them.
How to cook Goi cuon
Before the wrapping step, make sure you have prepped all other ingredients, including:
- cook and slice pork thinly
- poach and slice shrimps in half lengthwise
- cut lettuce into smaller pieces or strips so it’ll be easy to roll
- remove tough stems from the herbs
- prepare vermicelli noodles if using
- prepare other fillings you want to add
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What can Goi cuon be served together with
- Peanut sauce: which has the right balance of sweet and savory. Restaurant versions are often heavy-handed with hoisin sauce, so they are sweeter and darker than my liking.
- Nuoc cham: this is a Vietnamese traditional dipping sauce which contains fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Restaurant versions often use vinegar because they can be stored for longer than with lime juice. However, the sauce is best made with lime juice, which gives it not just acidity but also freshness and a subtle scent. I include the recipe for it in the recipe card.
Other popular Vietnamese food
Besides Goi cuon, there are other vietnamese food dishes that are highly popular in Singapore and around the world. Below is a list of some of the most mentioned ones:
Pho, Cha Ca, Banh Xeo, Cao Lau, Rau Muong, Nem Ran Cha Gio, Goi Cuon, Bun Bo Hue, Banh Khot, Ga Tan, Nom Hoa Chuoi, Hoa Qua Dam, Pho Cuon, Ga Nuong, Pho Xao, Ca Phe Trung, Bo La Lot, Xoi, Banh Cuon, Ca Tim Kho To, Bot Chien, Bun Dau Mam Tom, Banh Goi, Com Suon Nuong, Chao, Bo Luc Lac, Hat De Nong, Banh Uot thit nuong, Bun Cha, Banh Mi, Lau, Banh Bao, Com rang, Bo Bit Tet, Com Chay, Che, My Xao Bo, Dau Phu Sot Ca Chua, Canh Bun
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