They’re about the same shape. They have pretty much the same fillings. So just what is the difference between egg rolls and spring rolls? It’s all about the wrapper.
If you’re a fan of Asian cuisine, you’ve likely come across your fair share of spring rolls and egg rolls, either on your plate or listed on menus. Maybe you have a preference for one over the other, or maybe you’ve been known to order them interchangeably. In any case, have you ever really wondered about the difference between egg rolls and spring rolls?
Wonder no more! It’s time to get to the bottom of this.
What are egg rolls, what are spring rolls, and how are they different… or the same? Let’s find out.
First up: spring rolls. Spring rolls are a mainstay of the appetizer menu at most Asian restaurants, and chefs of other cuisines have put their own spin on them as well. But what are spring rolls?
The dish originated in China but made its way to a variety of regions, which is why you’ll find so many different iterations today.
Spring rolls can be filled with a combination of a variety of ingredients, including pork, cabbage, carrots, shrimp, and other seafood. They typically contain minimal ingredients and have a crisp, clean flavor.
Much of the variation in spring roll ingredients is rooted in geography. Traditional Vietnamese spring rolls, for example, will likely be prepared differently than their traditional Taiwanese counterparts.
The key to the spring roll versus egg roll distinction, though, is actually in the wrapper. Spring roll ingredients are contained in a paper-thin wrapper made of flour, salt, and water that crisps as it bakes.
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Surprisingly, egg rolls did not originate in China! In reality, they’re less authentic and traditional than spring rolls and were developed and popularized in Chinese-American restaurants to appeal to U.S. consumers.
Egg roll fillings are usually prepared with some combination of cabbage and pork, though different restaurants and chefs will make their own additions and variations.
An egg roll wrapper is much thicker and doughier than what you’ll find on a spring roll. These wrappers are made with eggs and wheat flour, and they become crunchy and chewy after frying. A few minutes in the deep fryer will cause egg roll wrappers to get golden brown and bubbly… yum!
The differences between egg roll and spring roll wrappers result in very different bites. While spring rolls tend to taste a bit brighter, fresher and lighter, the thicker wrappers that come on an egg roll are chewier and more savory. Plus, an egg roll has that deep fry going on.
Egg rolls and spring rolls are both delicious in their own right, and either dish can serve as a great entry point to a meal at any Asian restaurant. Keep your eyes peeled for interesting variations on this basic appetizer. The insides will change, but—as we’ve now learned—the wrappers will stay the same.
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