Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Hello, hungry ones.

spring

We are lagging in posting. Apologies for that. No amount of emotional wreck, work stress or holidays can stop us from eating and making food though. We are still breathing; pausing maybe, but going on. Strong and steady. Like what they say in Pocahontas, or some hopeful Disney movie. Yes, this is comfort food.

So, Vietnamese Spring Rolls. This has a story behind it: Last Saturday (or Friday… can’t remember), I went surfing in the remotest town in Eastern Philippines. It was goddamn cool and cheap. Sunburns aside, I was tired and hungry and I wanted to go home (wrong move – should’ve stayed overnight for rest and parties). So I hopped in my car and drove south. Since there were no 7/11s in that place (for my Red Bull needs) I went to Jollibee, that popular Filipino fastfood. In my 24 years of existence, I just found out they did not serve coffee after 11am. WTF. Not to be culturally insensitive (Hey, I’m Filipino) but man, coffee is welcome any time of the day. Supposedly. I parked my car on the customer parking area, eff the fact that I’m not a customer, you know? I want my coffee. So I crossed the street. There were three “restaurants”. No one served coffee because it’s “summer”. WTFF. Soooooooooooo? I went to the fourth one. It had coffee! But no take outs because they don’t have styro cups! Seriously, man.

Then I saw a hole in a wall across the street. A sign says it sells Pad Thai. I was like, “Great, they sell effin Pad Thai in the middle of nowhere but coffee is nonexistent”. For some reason, my mind figured that Pad Thai sellers have coffee because… I like to think people who like Pad Thais like coffee (eherm). And they did. Brewed. For Php 30. That’s like $0.75. Awesome. But they had to brew it – nothing’s ready – because I was the first customer to order coffee for the week (another WTF moment) I found out that they sell Vietnamese Spring Rolls too, so I ordered that too.

The owner of the place is a gracious pregnant geologist from New York who had a Thai best friend. Best friend taught her  how to make Thai food. Preggers takes yoga with best friend and boom: hole in the wall with healthy food (and brewed coffee) was born. I promised to be back since she shared me her recipe for Vietnamese Spring Rolls. She also said she’d teach me prenatal yoga (another WTF moment in this story), but yeah. Cool. Whatever works.

What you need: 

  • 1 pack rice paper sheets
  • 1/2 lb cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1/2 lb cooked small shrimp, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, cleaned and washed
  • 1 bunch fresh mint leaves, cleaned and washed
  • 1 head leafy lettuce, cleaned, washed and separated to leaves
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into very,very thin strips
  • 1 C fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 pack vermicelli rice noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • hoisin sauce
  • chopped peanuts
  • fish sauce

What to do:

1. Dip a sheet of rice paper wrapper into water very quickly, no longer than a second or they will get too soggy and lay flat on a work surface.

2. On one edge, lay a small handful of noodles, a few strips of meat, some shrimp, some cilantro and mint leaves, a lettuce leaf, some cucumber strips and bean sprouts, all to taste but don’t overstuff, you don’t want it to burst. You want it nice and neat. Roll up eggroll style, tucking in the sides. Don’t roll too tightly!

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3. Combine a hoisin sauce with some chopped peanuts to use as a dipping sauce. Add fish sauce if you want (I didn’t).

4. Serve. Or in my case, brown bag it. With my coffee. Woopdedoo!

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