Chinese takeout wouldn’t be complete without an order of egg rolls, wouldn’t it? It is a well-known fact that the egg roll is a culinary sensation beloved by all. After all, what’s not to like about the delicious little snacks? Once you bite past the crispy wrapper and taste the savory flavor of mixed vegetables and meat, you are simply hooked on its flavorful goodness.
Egg rolls have long been a quintessential part of Chinese restaurants. However, over time, they evolved from being an exclusive Chinese appetizer to becoming a common option on menus in different food places—whether it be at a dim sum restaurant, bar, or food truck.
Egg Roll Without the Egg?
Contrary to popular belief, the egg isn’t necessary to make an egg roll, even though it does have it in its name. The traditional egg roll recipe uses egg in the dough, but most recipes don’t call for it anymore; modern egg rolls are usually made up of mixed meat and vegetables wrapped in a rice paper wrapper.
So, how did they become known as egg rolls?
The Origin of the Egg Roll
Most assume the name came from a dish published in a 1917 Chinese American Cookbook called “Dan Gun,” which translates to “Egg Roll.” This dish consists of vegetables and meat wrapped up in an egg and are sliced once wrapped up. The egg ingredient may have eventually disappeared in the recipe—possibly replaced by the dough wrapper—but it was kept in the name for years to come.
Egg Rolls From Around the Globe
The egg roll may have originated from China, but each country has its own spin on the wrapped vegetables and meat concept. Each egg roll variation stemmed from the different culinary traditions across the world, from the preparation down to its ingredients.
America’s Egg Rolls
Born from the fusion of Chinese and American cultures, this is the familiar egg roll you order at your local dim sum restaurant. The American egg rolls are made of rolled dough with mixed cabbage and pork inside and fried in oil. Spring rolls and egg rolls are mostly the same—except that egg rolls have thicker wrappers, while spring rolls have thinner wrappers made with rice flour.
Vietnam’s Chả Giò
Chả Giò or Vietnamese spring rolls are filled with pork, glass noodles, wood ear mushrooms, carrots, and taro. Contrary to American egg rolls, Chả Giò is wrapped with rice paper and then served with fresh lettuce and herbs.
Vietnamese spring rolls taste best when dipped in salty-sweet nước chấm sauce.
The Philippines’ spring roll uses a pastry-like wrapper and is filled with ground pork and chopped vegetables. It remains a staple in Filipino holiday dinners and birthday celebrations.
There’s also a dessert counterpart of Lumpia called Turon—where instead of vegetables and meat, you fill the dough with banana slices and coat it in brown sugar.
South Korea’s Gyeran-mari
The Gyeran-mari is essentially a rolled omelet. It is quite literally an egg rolled! This is a popular Korean side dish since its ingredients are readily accessible in locals’ homes.
You can make Gyeran-mari with just egg and a bit of salt, but if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can add in some diced bell peppers, carrots, onion, ham, canned tuna, or roasted seaweed.
Popiah is one of the most popular street foods in Malaysia and is also one of the most common dishes served at home. The rolls are filled with shrimp, yam bean, french beans, bean curd, and shrimp.
Conclusion—To Wrap It All Up
Egg rolls are a classic dish, perfect for any occasion, no matter where you are in the world. Who knew a simple fried cylinder could bring together thousands of families and friends? This is the power of food! Its language is universal—understood and appreciated by all.
If you’re looking for the most delicious egg rolls and dim sum, visit the Ocean Palace today! Open since 1999, Ocean Palace is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Houston with the largest variety of dim sum. Order now to get a taste of the best Chinese food in your area! Visit our website or call us at (281) 988-8898 to learn more about our menu.