Read this if you’re a fan of Vietnamese spring rolls

When my Oma and Opa were still here with us Earth-side, towards the end of their lives, they found themselves living in Hamilton. They lived in a retirement home, and once a week, my mom would head to the Hammer to visit with them, run any errands then required, etc.

I was in university during this period of time, and I would often meet up with my mom and my Oma and Opa for dinner in Hamilton when my mom was in their company. We frequented a restaurant called Lemongrass where I quickly became an avid fan of their Vietnamese spring rolls, and I’ve been hooked ever since I first tried these heavenly creations.

A few days ago, I randomly remembered how damn delicious Vietnamese spring rolls are, and I figured I should look into how complicated it is to make them myself. I was pleasantly surprised to learn they aren’t as tricky as I thought they would be, and I thought it would be a disservice to you if I didn’t share the following recipe from


Spring Rolls

  • 18 medium shell-on shrimp (21/25 count), about 3/4 pounds, defrosted if frozen
  • 3 ounces thin rice vermicelli (maifun)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Persian cucumber, cut into matchsticks (see note 1)
  • a large red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • 12 pieces of butter lettuce, bottom tough stems removed (see note 2)
  • 12 large 22cm circular rice paper sheets
  • warm water for rolling spring rolls

Peanut Sauce (see note 3)

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup, can sub with brown sugar (see note 4)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Nước Chấm

  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, can add more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 Thai chilli, sliced
  • a clove of garlic, minced


Prepare the Dipping Sauce (see note 5)

  • Pick your dipping sauce of choice above and mix all the sauce ingredients together. Make sure to use warm water for the nuoc cham so that the sugar dissolves more easily.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
  • I like to prepare the sauce before making the spring rolls so that the flavors have a longer time to develop. 

Prepare the Shrimp

  • Fill a medium saucepan or small pot with water and bring it to boil on high heat (see note 6). 
  • Once the water boils, add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the water and let them cool for 5 minutes. Peel the shells from the shrimp.
  • Lay a shrimp on its side on a chopping board. Gently press the shrimp down with one hand and use the other to slice the shrimp in half, horizontally (knife parallel to the chopping board). Repeat with the remaining shrimp. 

Prepare the Noodles

  • Fill a large saucepan or small pot with water and bring it to boil on high heat. 
  • Turn off the heat. Let the noodles sit in the hot water for about 5 to 8 minutes. Double check the package directions to see how long they should sit in hot water as the cooking time varies across different brands. 
  • Once the noodles have softened, drain and rinse the noodles under cold water. I like cutting the noodles with kitchen scissors several times so they are shorter and easier to grab.

Set Up Spring Roll Station

  • Fill a large bowl with lukewarm water to wet the rice paper sheets.
  • Transfer all the vegetables, shrimp, herbs, and noodles into bowls and arrange them on your work top. 
  • Get a chopping board ready. Dip your hand in the water and brush water over the surface of the chopping board so that it is damp. I usually wet the surface again after every 2 spring rolls. Alternatively, lay a damp paper towel over your work surface.

Roll the Spring Rolls (refer to the photo or video in the post for reference)

  • Quickly dip a sheet of rice paper in the lukewarm water to moisten the entire surface. This should take no longer than a few seconds.
  • Lay the wet rice paper on your work surface. Place a piece of butter lettuce close to the bottom edge of the rice paper. Arrange a small pinch each of rice noodles, carrots, cucumber, red bell pepper, and mint leaves over the center of the lettuce leaf (see note 7). 
  • Arrange 3 pieces of shrimp about 1 1/2 to 2 inches below the top edge of the rice paper. Make sure that the orange/pink side is facing down. 
  • Grab the lower edge of the rice paper and lettuce and start rolling up the spring roll. Once you have reached the shrimp, fold in the left and right sides. Finish rolling up the spring roll all the way to the end. 
  • Repeat the rolling process with the rest of the ingredients. If the chopping board is looking dry, brush some water over the board.
  • Serve the spring rolls with the dipping sauce,” the recipe explains.

These aren’t necessarily the easiest things to create, but they aren’t the hardest, either. Right?

Image from


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