Vietnamese Crispy Spring Rolls (Cha Gio)

January 30, 2008 | Chuck
Vietnamese Crispy Spring Rolls

Crispy spring rolls, egg rolls or imperial rolls, whatever you call them, it's cha gio in Vietnamese. My mom's cha gio was one of my favorite things to eat growing up. Nothing compares to my mom's crispy spring rolls. I know I say that about all of her cooking, but I really mean it. When I was younger and attended a lot of Viet gatherings and parties, I would always leave thinking my mom's cooking was better.

Cha gio comes in many different sizes and can be made with spring roll wrappers or rice paper. Traditionally, rice paper is used in Vietnam, but my mom has been using spring roll wrappers for as long as I can remember, so I'm partial to them. I grew up on pork and shrimp cha gio, but a few years ago, my dad became a pescetarian. So last month when I visited my parents, my mom made shrimp and crab rolls.

I don't eat cha gio very often because it's deep fried. So it was a really special treat when my mom made the rolls. Of course, she doesn't measure any ingredients and just cooks by taste and feel. She knew I wanted to document the process for SND and indulged me by measuring everything out. Isn't she great?

The cha gio were fantastic. They contain a few of my favorite things — crab, shrimp, cabbage and shiitake mushrooms. Since they are deep fried, they are obviously nice and crispy. Wrapped up in a fresh piece of lettuce and dipped in nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce), they are absolutely delicious and take me back to my childhood.

Vietnamese Crispy Spring Rolls

Vietnamese Shrimp and Crab Crispy Spring Rolls Recipe

SND Note: Pork and shrimp cha gio can be made by using 1 pound ground pork and 1/2 pound shrimp. 1-1 1/2 ounces of thin cellophane noodles, chopped into 1/2" pieces and soaked in water until soft, is a common ingredient and can also be added to the mixture.

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, small dice
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 head small cabbage, thinly sliced
4-5 Shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, diced
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined 
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound crab meat
1 egg, white and yolk separated
1 package large (8 inch) spring roll wrappers

1) Blanch cabbage and place into ice bath. Drain and squeeze out excess water. In a large bowl, mix together garlic, carrots, green onions and cabbage.

2) Chop shrimp into small pieces. To the large bowl, add shrimp, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and black pepper and mix. Add crab meat and egg white to mixture and combine evenly.

3) Brush egg yolk on three corners of wrapper. Add 2 tablespoons of filling in center of wrapper, diagonally. Fold the two sides on the diagonal over the filling. Fold the non-egg yolk corner over and tuck snugly under filling and roll up. See the slideshow for pictures of the rolling process.

4) Deep fry the spring rolls in peanut oil at 350°F for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Work in batches. Flip half way through. Remove and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Eat wrapped in lettuce with nuoc cham.

Makes 25-30 rolls, which serves 4-6

[tags]vietnamese, deep fried, crispy, spring roll, crab, shrimp, cha gio, shiitake, mushrooms[/tags]

37 Comments on “Vietnamese Crispy Spring Rolls (Cha Gio)”

  1. JEP said:

    Your photos & over-all blog lay-out is always stunning! Thanks for sharing the history behind these Spring Rolls!

  2. Lydia said:

    I don’t eat these very often either, because they’re fried, but you remind me of how delicious they are! I’m lucky to live near several large Asian supermarkets, where all of the ingredients (especially noodles and condiments, which make such a difference to the final taste) are easily available, and my pantry is always ready whenever the craving strikes. Thanks for the wonderful step-by-step photos.

  3. Christiane said:

    These look absolutely fantastic. I just made my own crab spring rolls awhile ago, but I think I may like to try this recipe.
    The pictures are fantastic too!

  4. JD said:

    The spring roll looks absolutely delicious and so does the photo. Does anyone have any special technique they can share of how to wrap the rolls, mine always puffs up and all the fillings burst, what am I doing wrong? I want to make the rolls for the super bowl weekend.

  5. Joy said:

    That looks so yummy!!!

    I haven’t seen the super thin wrappers. I’ll have to look for that.

  6. How decadent! I love shrimp and crab egg rolls, but can’t really justify using crab for it when it’s so precious. So it’s just pork and shrimp cha gio for me.

  7. Chuck said:

    Thanks for the complements everyone!

    JD, take a look at the picture slideshow for rolling technique. Just click on the top picture to advance to the next picture. Step 3 in the slideshow is the key step. Make sure you snugly tuck the wrapper under the filling before rolling it up. Good luck!

    WC, you can blame my dad for the decadence. He gets the crab from Costco, so that keeps the cost down a little. I’m a pork and shrimp cha gio person too.

  8. Judy said:

    Spring rolls, egg rolls, lumpia … all very similar, and all very good. I will have to try these soon, along with the dipping sauce recipe.

  9. canarygirl said:

    Thank you so much for posting your mom’s recipe! I can’t wait to try these…I usually make pork rolls, but am going to try pork and shrimp…crab is a little too prohibitive cost wise for us here in the Canaries. ;) YUMMY! The lettuce wrap is key, too, isn’t it? ps…love your step by steps! :)

  10. Christine said:

    My mom never measured her ingredients either – I mean, why on earth would anyone do that? That would be too easy.

    When I go home, ch? giò is also something I look forward to eating. Not good for any Arse Reduction Program, but worth every bite!

  11. canarygirl said:

    Ok, YUM! I just made a mix of your recipe and mine, and I think I might have died and gone to heaven. Thank you so much for posting! :) ps..I found canned crabmeat at my Asian grocer! Yes! :)

  12. Hi, I always feel so excited whenever I found sth about my beloved country cuisine on the internet :) That’s more than awesome when knowing people loving your country’s food :X Thank you so much!!!

    I just want to notice that, this dish in Vietnam has 2 different names: In Southern VN, it is “Cha gio”, however, in the North, it is called “Nem”. In addtition, the so-called “Nem” in the South (notice – NOT the North) is a completely different food in the Noth (it, of course has another name, by the way :D) There are several kinds of food in VN whose names differ from the North the South.

    Besides the varieties in names, the same kind food made in different places also varies (a little bit) in methods of cooking and their taste. Let’s take “Bo kho” – stewed beef (luckily this dish has 1 name only :P) as a typical example. In the North, it includes “nuoc’ hang`” – caramel sauce (main purpose is to improve the color) – but in the South, it is made from coconut juice. The two methods both result in a gorgeously beautiful brown and soft beef. However, the beef in Northern “Bo kho” is cut into small- to medium-sized peices, while in the South, the whole big peice of beef is keep un-cut, until the dish is completely cooked. People will cut the beef later when it is served. In genaral, Southern VNese food usually taste (a little bit – again :P) sweeter then those of the North.

  13. Sumomo said:

    Cha Gio is the best Viet Food that my mom makes :)

  14. Camemberu said:

    Aahhh, love your blog! Been reading the posts awhile now, everything looks so delicious! I am going to try making these cha gio someday. Spring rolls, so yummy!

  15. Deb said:

    Holy smokes – I just stumbled upon your site and it is amazing. Consider yourself bookmarked! =)

    Oh, and these look so delicious. If they taste half as good as they look I’m in for a treat! Thanks for sharing this, and I can’t wait to read more.

  16. AQAT said:

    just notice that one important reason makes this recipe crispy is the wrapper. the wrapper you use here is wheat flour wrapper. normally in Vietnam, wrapper is made from rice flour (sometimes they may add a little cassava flour) which is called rice paper. rice paper doesn’t absorb as much oil as wheat flour wrapper, that’s why its spring rolls aren’t as crispy.
    they don’t use cabbage in the filling, too. in north vietnam, they use bean sprouts or jícama and carrot. in south they use taro
    anyways, each family holds their own recipe of spring roll. they may adjust by adding jew’s ear, egg yolk,…

  17. Trang said:

    But the wrapper you used here is not a proper one, the one from Viet Nam is thinner and more delicated. This wrapper is more likely the Chinese one, quite thick therefore more crispy. I love springrolls and I have tried a lot of different methods but the original wrapper from VN that my mum always uses is the best one ever. I cant find those wrapper in London here aswell becoz in Viet shops they dont have them.
    Yeah, mums recipe is always the best!

  18. Treven said:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe! Making these made for my own successful Sunday Night Dinner.

  19. Otto said:

    The wrapper in the picture is not typical Vietnamese. There is more texture to the Vietnamese wrapper and I like it better.

  20. Insert drool [here].

  21. Tanya said:

    Wow! These look AMAZING1 I love Vietnamese food so I’ll for sure have to make these. Thanks for the delicious recipe!

  22. Buda said:

    I have always been obsessed with fried spring rolls, lumpia, whatever you call them. And since I first tried the Vietnamese version im 2005, I have been completely enamored. Your recipe seems to be the exact or very similar recipe I have been drooling for since. And so, I can’t wait to try it. Please excuse my extreme ignorance, but is there no pre-cooking or sauteing of the filling (I intend to make the pork/shrimp combo) required before placing in the spring roll wrapper? I just want to make it right because I soooo want to try this recipe already!!! Thanks for your indulgence :)

  23. Chuck said:

    Buda, there’s no pre-cooking of the filling. The deep-frying will cook everything through. I hope you enjoy the egg rolls.

  24. Buda said:

    Thank you! I’m going to HMart tomorrow for the ingredients. I can’t wait to make them!!! :)

  25. Wow! Love your blog – I just came across it! Will be visiting regularly. Question: what’s the difference between spring roll paper & rice paper? I’ve only used spring roll paper before… thanks much! (and sorry if you already answered this question)….diane

  26. Za said:


    I am intending to make these this weekend for a party. Will these stay crispy since I have to make them in the morning and transport them over to the party place only in the evening. How can I make them stay crispy? Thanks!

  27. Chuck said:

    Za, they won’t be as crispy as serving them right away, but you can reheat them in a 300 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until heated through. Rotating them 1/2 through the reheating time will also help getting crispy again. Hope that helps.

  28. Megan said:

    Hi guys I made these last night and were to die for, my partner and I went to the shops and bought all the ingredients on the list above for our dinner party, I followed the recipe exactly however after I had cooked them I looked over and saw the mushrooms left I thought I forgot them, how ever reading over the site again you have not mentioned in the method where to add them… Opps but they were good with out them.. Tha is for a great entree to my asian feast last night

  29. Melissa said:

    Do you need to cook the pork first if using that variation?

  30. Chuck said:

    Melissa, no the shrimp and pork don’t need to be pre-cooked. Deep frying will cook the shrimp and pork through.

  31. karen said:

    This is one of my favorite Asian dishes. The texture of crispy spring rolls is really good! I like to eat rice along with it.


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