The Best Vietnamese Egg Rolls Recipe, How to make Cha Gio/Nem

These traditional Vietnamese egg rolls are a favorite in our family.

Everybody asks me to make them for their birthday dinners and it is what I would typically make when I have somebody over for dinner for the first time. And it’s gluten-free.

fried vietnamese egg rolls on plate with dip mint and lettuce- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

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This recipe was handed down to me by my French mother who made them all the time.  She got the recipe and instructions on how to make them from her Vietnamese neighbor when she lived in Africa in the 60s. 

Wait, what?

The story makes a lot more sense when you learn that Vietnam was a French colony,  my mom and dad were French, some parts of Northern Africa were also colonized by the French, my dad was in the military, and they were stationed in Chad during the 60s.

So that explains French and Vietnamese neighbors on a military base in Africa.

Since I took the recipe with me when I moved to the United States, that recipe has literally been around the world.

What are Vietnamese Egg Rolls?

In my family, we call them Nem, but I’ve learned the name is actually Nem Ran or Cha Gio, depending on which part of Vietnam you’re from. (Chả Giò & Nem Rán)

It’s basically a mild fried pork roll with incredible flavor.

The noodles are bean threads and the wrapper is made of rice, which makes them gluten-free. A plus for a lot of my friends.

They’re also nothing like Chinese style egg rolls. The filling and the wrapper are different. And the taste is totally different.

If your idea of an egg roll is a Chinese egg roll, and this is your first introduction to Vietnamese cuisine, you’re in for a treat.

I’ve seen them called Vietnamese fried spring rolls, but they’re not. Vietnamese spring rolls are not fried and have lettuce in them. Nobody would fry lettuce.

In any case, this Vietnamese egg roll recipe has not been changed since my mom first learned how to make it and it’s the absolute best.

You can eat them as an appetizer but we usually make enough to be eaten as a main meal.

fried vietnamese egg rolls on plate with dip mint and lettuce- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

Read these tips before you start your Vietnamese Egg Rolls

  • You’ll need to plan about an hour and a half from prep to finish rolling. The rolling will go faster with help. I typically ask my kids to help with that part.
  • The egg rolls can be made a day ahead of time but the frying should only happen right before eating. So you’ll need to plan for that if you’re having people over.
  • You can fry a bunch and keep them in a warm oven until you finish the batch and serve them.
  • Try not to substitute other lettuce for butter lettuce, it’s not the same.
  • You can keep the uncooked egg rolls in the fridge for about 3 days.
  • You can refry leftover egg rolls that were already fried. (That almost never happens in our house though).
  • Don’t buy the Chinese egg roll wrappers. You need the spring roll rice paper wrappers (Banh Trang).
  • Spring roll wrappers are not all made the same. Some are very brittle (Too thin) and some are thicker wrappers. Look for the brand with the red rose on the front in the Asian market. They’re the ones I like to use. 
  • Get Vietnamese fish sauce, not Thai. The name Nuoc Mam should be on the front. The best brand is Phu Quoc (Flying Lion).
  • Don’t smell the fish sauce. Just trust and use it.
  • Black fungus and wood ear mushrooms are technically not the same but you can use either.
  • Don’t confuse rice noodles and bean thread noodles. Although they look similar, they’re not the same. Read the package carefully. I’ve seen bean threads called vermicelli noodles, glass noodles, and cellophane noodles also.
  • Get the best crab meat can you can find. It makes a difference. Get the lump crab meat, not the shredded kind, and buy the premium stuff if you can. It should smell good, like crab, when you open the can. (The Kroger’s lump crab meat works great).
  • Serve the egg rolls with the mint. It enhances the flavor.
  • Amounts are approximate. A little more or less pork, noodles, green onions, or mushrooms will not affect the recipe.
  • The recipe is easily doubled.
  • Bone-in pork chops are best (the bone gives flavor) but boneless chops can be substituted.
  • An Asian grocery store will have everything you need, but you may be surprised at the range of products just available in the Asian section of most supermarkets.

How to make Vietnamese Egg Rolls

The video goes through all the steps and is a good way to get an overall idea of how to make the Vietnamese egg rolls.

I also go through all the steps in pictures below and provide a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

And please sign up to my YouTube channel by clicking here:

Ingredients:

  • 3 thick pork chops (~1lb)
  • 1 can of premium lump crab meat
  • Half a pack of bean thread noodles (~5oz or 150g)
  • 2 dried black fungus or wood ear mushrooms
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 large eggs (or 3 small ones)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Rice spring roll wrappers (Banh Trang)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Lemon juice
  • Fish sauce (Nuoc Mam)
  • Butter lettuce
  • Fresh Mint leaves
ingredients - How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

First, put 2 fungus pieces in warm water to re-hydrate.

rehydrate black fungus- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

Then cook the pork chops in hot oil.

Cut the pork chops into pieces and place them in a food processor with the green onions and the re-hydrated fungus. Chop until well blended but still coarse.

vietnamese egg roll pork and crab and onion mixture in food processor.- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

Cook the bean threads in boiling water about 3 minutes until softened.

Put the meat mixture in a large mixing bowl, add the can of crab (drained), and the cooked noodles on top.

Cut the noodles, add one egg, salt, pepper, and mix.

Add the other egg, and mix some more adding salt to taste.

vietnamese egg roll pork and crab and onion and noodles mixture in a large bowl.- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

Soften the rice paper in warm water and place on a flat surface.

Add a small hand full of the meat mixture and roll. (See rolling tutorial below).

Keep rolling until you run out of the mixture and place egg rolls on a baking sheet not too close together so they don’t stick to each other. You can use parchment paper to stack them.

The recipe should make somewhere between 25 and 30 egg rolls depending on how big you make them.

rolled nems in a pan- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

When ready to serve, fry the rolled Vietnamese egg rolls in a pan with hot oil making sure all sides are brown and crispy, about 5 minutes.

fry the egg rolls in hot oil in a pan- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

Serve the Vietnamese egg rolls with butter lettuce and mint.

fried vietnamese egg rolls on plate with dip mint and lettuce- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

Let your guests make their own dipping sauce with lemon juice and fish sauce. The lemon juice/ fish sauce ratio doesn’t matter. I like a lot of fish sauce but others in my family will only use a couple of drops.

If you go to a Vietnamese restaurant, they’ll typically serve their egg rolls with Nuoc Cham, a ready made dipping sauce.

Wrap your egg roll in a lettuce leaf with some mint, dip, and enjoy!

fried vietnamese egg rolls in hand with dip mint and lettuce- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

How to roll your Vietnamese Egg rolls step by step

1- Place your softened rice paper on a flat surface.

2- Add a small handful of the meat mixture on the bottom half of the circle.

place a small handful of meat mixture on the lower part of the rice paper.- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

3- Fold up the bottom of the paper.

fold bottom rice paper over the meat mixture.- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

4- Roll once.

roll from the bottom with rice paper- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

4- Fold the right side over.

fold the right side of the rice paper over- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

5- Fold the left side over.

fold the left side over - How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

6- Finish rolling the egg roll. It should not be loose, but not too tight.

fisnish rolling egg rolls- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!
how to roll egg rolls- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!
rolled egg roll - How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

Vietnamese Egg Rolls

Vietnamese Egg Rolls / Cha Gio / Nem Ran

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword asian, egg rolls, filling, from scratch, gluten free, pork rolls
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Author Press Print Party

Ingredients

  • 3 thick pork chops ~ 1lb (Bone in is best)
  • 1 can crab meat 6oz
  • ~5 oz bean thread noodles (~150g)
  • 2 dried black fungus pieces or wood ear mushrooms
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 large eggs
  • rice spring roll wrappers
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • oil for frying
  • lemons
  • fish sauce Nuoc Mam
  • butter lettuce
  • mint

Instructions

  1. Put the fungus in a cup of warm water to re-hydrate.

  2. Pan fry the pork chops.

  3. Cut up the cooked pork chops.

  4. Add the pork, green onions, and fungus to the food processor and chop until well blended but still coarse.

  5. Cook the bean threads in boiling water about 3 minutes until softened.

  6. Put the meat mixture in a large bowl, add the can of crab (drained), and the cooked noodles on top.

  7. Cut the noodles, add one egg, salt, pepper and mix.

    Add the other egg, and mix some more adding salt to taste.

  8. Soften the rice paper in warm water and place on a flat surface.

  9. Add a small hand-full of the meat mixture and roll.

  10. Keep rolling until you run out of mixture. The recipe should make somewhere between 25 and 30 egg rolls depending on how big you make them.

  11. When ready to serve, fry the rolled Vietnamese egg rolls in a pan with hot oil making sure all sides are brown and crispy about 5 minutes.

  12. Serve with butter lettuce leaves and mint.

  13. Let your guests make their own dipping sauce with lemon juice and fish sauce. The lemon juice/ fish sauce ratio doesn't matter. I like a lot of fish sauce but others will only use a couple of drops.

  14. Wrap your egg roll in a lettuce leaf with some mint, dip and enjoy!


I hope you enjoyed my family’s Vietnamese egg rolls recipe. I know a lot of my American friends and family have asked for it. Now it’s available for everyone.

If you like exotic foods, you should also try my coconut mochi cake recipe. It’s another one of those favorites in our house.

I also have some authentic French recipes, like mulled wine and chocolate truffles, with lots more in the works.

authentic vietnamese egg rolls fried on plate with mint leaves and lettuce- How to make vietnamese egg rolls recipe cha gio nem ran - Press Print Party!

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