Photo by Co-Lab Pantry
Why are Spring Rolls a Culinary Favourite?
By Co-Lab Pantry
If there’s one fun and magical food that’s full of surprises, it’s spring rolls! These golden cylindrical-shaped rolls are stuffed with flavourful minced meat or vegetable fillings and dipped in tasty sauces. Imagine the contrasting flavours— sweet, salty, spicy, sour, tangy– dancing around your mouth. They’re the life of the party! So, why are spring rolls so popular? It’s simply because of its appetising flavours and freshness.
Who invented the spring rolls?
While we don’t know the name of the genius who invented spring rolls, they are thought to have originated in China as part of the Spring Festival (Spring roll - get it!?). If we dig a little deeper, the tradition of giving spring pancakes made from flour and spring harvests as a gift to commemorate the first day of spring was only celebrated during the Jin Dynasty. Spring rolls didn’t exist yet. Later on, the tradition was passed down to several other ancient Chinese dynasties, but branched out according to their social classes. The rich would stuff their pancakes with meat, beans, spinach and eggs. The poor only had access to celery and carrots..
It was in the Ming Dynasty that spring pancakes finally became the spring rolls we enjoy today. It became a beloved food of the masses and the Imperial Court. Spring rolls were officially named in the Qing Dynasty as chūn juǎn (which means spring rolls!) where they were showcased every Spring Festival. Spring rolls are a symbol of wealth and prosperity for the Chinese and are also served during Lunar New Year.
Regional versions of spring rolls
Spring rolls are prepared using a variety of ingredients for the filling such as carrots, cabbage, bell pepper, bamboo shoots, mushroom and meat— chicken, pork, or shrimp. They are mixed together, seasoned with oyster sauce or soy sauce, and wrapped in pieces using a thin flour wrapper or rice wrapper. They can be deep fried or pan fried. In fresh spring rolls, only the meat is cooked and wrapped together with the vegetables.
There are different types of spring rolls in various regions:
Vietnam - Vietnamese spring rolls are called Gỏi cuốn. The ingredients, composed of fried pork, shrimp, beef, garlic, herbs, lettuce and chicken, are wrapped and served with hoisin sauce. Vietnamese spring rolls are served fresh.
Taiwan - Taiwan’s spring roll, called Run Bing, uses herbs and ground peanut powder in its recipe.
Hong Kong - Spring rolls are part of the traditional Chinese dim sum, a brunch meal made up of several assorted dishes of dumplings of different varieties, rice noodle rolls, roast pork buns and egg custard accompanied by tea.
Philippines - Philippine spring rolls are called lumpia. They were introduced in the Philippines in the 17th century.
Australia - Back in 1950 a Victorian named Frank McEncroe decided traditional spring rolls were too flimsy to be handled in an informal outdoor setting, so he brought to life the idea of a much larger and more robust roll that would provide a quick meal fix, easily held in one hand, with a cool beer in the other - and so the iconic Chiko Roll was born.
Order spring rolls online
Co-Lab Pantry partnered with Oriental Tea House to bring their authentic Chinese dishes straight to your home. They have three different mouthwatering flavours you can easily heat in a pan for 4 to 5 minutes or bake in 8 minutes.
Pork Spring Rolls - 10 pcs, $25 - The Oriental Tea House Pork Spring Rolls contain pork, bamboo shoots, carrot and spices.
Prawn Spring Rolls - 10 pcs, $25 - The Oriental Tea House Prawn Spring Rolls contain whole prawns, bamboo shoots, bok choy and spices.
Vegetarian Spring Rolls - 10 pcs, $25 - The Oriental Tea House Vegetable Spring Rolls has a mix of flavourful veggies, bamboo shoots and spices.
Co-Lab Pantry is an Australian online food and beverage retailer based in Melbourne. With over 150 of the best local restaurants, cafes and grocers as partners, we deliver ready-made meals, cocktails, pantry goods and produce to people’s homes across the nation.