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General guide to Vietnamese summer rolls

Updated on September 10, 2014
my char-grilled fish summer roll for Vietnamese Magazine.  I love the crispy skin and the combination.
my char-grilled fish summer roll for Vietnamese Magazine. I love the crispy skin and the combination. | Source
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What is Gỏi Cuốn - Summer Roll

In case you still don't know the meaning of this dish in Vietnamese.

Gỏi are series of dishes which doesn't involve to heavy cooking. Most are raw ingredients, some might partly cooked.
Cuốn is a verb, means roll.
So basically, gỏi cuốn is a series of dishes that you make a roll with a raw or /and cooked ingredients using rice papers or green leaves.

It's bustling with fragrant fresh herb, very often is combined with bún (rice vermicelli) for starch and choices of meat/fish/poultry for protein.

Balance - fresh - healthy, Goi Cuon is listed at number 30 on World's 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011.

Goi cuon is served with different types of dipping sauce, most popular are Vietnamese dipping sauce (with fish sauce) and peanut dipping sauce

How to make Goi Cuon?

You can be very creative about ingredients, just think of a balance combination (vegetable, herbs, starchy, protein) , of flavour and of texture. In this entry, we start with the most popular Goi Cuon, you then can experiment and create your own favourite rolls.


for 6-8 rolls

  • 1/3 pound pork shoulder
  • 12 medium raw shrimp, unpeeled
  • 4 ounces Bún (rice vermicelli) - boiled for 5 minutes, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small lettuce, leaves separated, washed and rinsed
  • Herb - your choice (mint, coriander ...) experiment and choose your favourite
  • 8 (12-inch) dried rice paper
  • Carrot, cucumber or similar ingredients to add crunchiness and colour (optional), julienned

for dipping sauce ( direction at : the basic of Vietnamese dipping sauce)

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cup fish sauce ( 3 crabs brand)
  • 4 cups water (add more as needed)
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped and mix with a table spoon of lime juice
  • 1/2 de-seeded and chopped bird-eye chilli

Or try to: Vietnamese dipping sauce for summer rolls / Peanut dipping sauce for summer roll.


1. If you have 4 stove-cooker, you can work with three pots at a time: pork, shrimp and vermicelli

  • In the first pot, cook vermicelli, go to how to cook vermicelli ( you should cook vermicelli early, give it time to achieve the desire outcome).

  • In the second pot, bring the medium pot of salted water to a boil, add pork (cut into 2-3 equal thick pieces). Rolling boil for two minutes then strain and rinse pork under cold running water; Clean the pot, add water and bring to rolling boiled again, reduce the heat to medium, add shallot, salt, pork and cook, about 30 minutes. Transfer immediately into a bowl of cold/ice water and leave for 10 minutes. Cut pork into 1/12” thick slices and set aside.
  • In the third pot, pour one cup of water or beer in a small pot, bring to a boil, add shrimp and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Drain, allow to cool and peel. Devein and cut in half lengthwise. Set aside or keep in fridge. Grilled or stir-fried shrimp is another option.

2. Prepare rolling space. Line a cutting board with a damp kitchen tower on top. Fill a large bowl with warm water (50 C0) and place nearby. Arrange other ingredients in the order that easy to work with.

3. Working with 2 rice papers at a time, dip quickly into the water for one second, place on the towel, line the bottom third of the rice paper with lettuce leaf lengthwise, top with a tablespoon rice vermicelli and herb. On the next third of the rice paper, line 3 shrimp halves, cut side up, and top with 2 slices of pork.

Start to roll from the bottom, while pressing down on the ingredients lift the bottom edge over the filling, then fold in the two sides. Roll into a cylinder about 1 1/2 inches wide and 4-5 inches long.
Repeat with the remaining rice paper and ingredients.

4. serve as rolls or cut them into 2-4 pieces and place upright on a place. Serve with dipping sauce aside.

Where you might go wrong

The vermicelli is wet, undercooked or overcooked
The boiled pork is overcooked, undercooked
The rice paper is fragile or sticky
The roll looses out and breaks when you cut into pieces or bite, learn to roll it tight


  • Cook your vermicelli early, give it time to dry and fluff
  • Don't soak rice paper, just give it a quick dip into warm water
  • Learn to make great dipping sauce, use a special fish sauce only for sauce purpose

Happy cooking!

© 2012 huyenchi


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    • huyenchi profile image

      huyenchi 5 years ago from London - Hanoi

      Thank you Mritzert, the picture was char-grilled fish summer roll with crispy fish skin bit and I love it. There are many types of summer rolls for you to choose from: char-grilled pork, chicken, beef, vegetarian, just to name a few. Last time I added sliced gherkin/pickle onion and people love it, you might want to try. And about the dipping sauce, you might want to use the hoisin sauce mixed with peanut butter(I will write about it or find a link), I found that people prefer it over the traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce, it much easier to make right and less running which mean less messy when you eat.

    • Mritzert1 profile image

      Mritzert1 5 years ago from Canton, OH

      Great Hub! That summer roll looks amazing and I'll have to give this recipe a go sometime soon. Voted up and interesting.

    • huyenchi profile image

      huyenchi 5 years ago from London - Hanoi

      By the way, I took the photo two days ago when we made char-grilled carp summer roll, you comment made me smile, thanks!!

    • huyenchi profile image

      huyenchi 5 years ago from London - Hanoi

      Thank you Paul for your comment, If you have any particular question, please just let me know; In the mean time, I am working on more hubs about Vietnamese roll, hope they will make your job easier.

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 5 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      That's a great photo. I love rolls with the rice noodle wrapping. These types of rolls are on my list to learn how to make.