Images by Sophie Phan.

Make Authentic Fresh Spring Rolls With the Owner of Vancouver’s Ca Phe Vietnamese Coffee House

To celebrate this year’s Asian Heritage Month, we asked several local chefs and restaurateurs to share their favourite recipes with our readers. From Minna Van, the owner of Vancouver’s Ca Phe Vietnamese Coffee House, comes this family recipe for authentic fresh spring rolls. Watch for more delicious recipes throughout the month of May.

There’s nothing more quintessentially Vietnamese than the iconic gỏi cuốn, fresh spring roll, a popular appetizer consisting mainly of protein (usually shrimp or pork), vegetables, fresh herbs, and bún (rice vermicelli), all wrapped together in bánh tráng (rice paper) with a side of dip.

Every region has its own take on this fresh spring roll (also known as a salad roll). This is my take from our family in central Vietnam, and it’s called nem cuốn.

Whereas gỏi cuốn is typically a light appetizer, nem cuốn could be a meal on its own, as its filling usually contains a grilled protein. Whether you are making gỏi cuốn or nem cuốn, they are both refreshing, healthy treats that are easy to make for a hot summer’s day picnic or a camping trip with friends.

Spring Rolls

Nem Cuốn: Fresh Spring Rolls From Central Vietnam

Makes 12 rolls


For the rolls:

4 ounces (1 bag) rice vermicelli

12 round rice papers (8 1/2 inches each)

Barbecued tofu or any other grilled protein

1 head of any green lettuce (or butter lettuce) cut in half

1 medium English cucumber, peeled and cut into sticks  2 inches long x 1/4 inch thick

2 green peppers, cut into sticks 2 inches long x 1/4 inch thick

1 bunch of mint leaves

For the dipping sauce:

3/4 cup of creamy peanut butter

1/3 cup of water

4 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce (or tamari)

3 tablespoons of hoisin sauce

3 tablespoons of lime juice

1 tablespoon of sugar (or honey)

1/2 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil

Optional: 2 teaspoons of sriracha


For the rolls:

Prepare the rice vermicelli according to the instructions on the package, then let it cool.

Take a sheet of rice paper and submerge in a bowl of hot (but not scalding hot) water for 5– 10 seconds.

Place the wrapper on a plate and assemble the ingredients as it softens. What you put in each of your rolls, and how much filling, is up to you.

Pro tip: Fold the bottom half of the wrapper over the filling, hold that centre fold, then fold in the sides and roll.

For the dipping sauce:

Whisk all the ingredients together (and if you’re camping, you can always whisk with a fork).


Read more local Recipes.


Post Date:

April 30, 2021