What are goi cuon?
The Vietnamese dish, goi cuon consists of seasonal fresh ingredients that are rolled in soaked rice sheets and served with a dipping sauce. The literal meaning of goi cuon is “salad rolls”, but they are also called fresh spring rolls. In Southern Vietnam, the dish is known as banh hoi. In contrast to cha gio, which are fried Vietnamese spring rolls, these soft spring rolls are unbaked and are eaten cold.
In Vietnam, the transparent rolls are mostly eaten as a snack and they are popular among schoolchildren and college students.
Did you know?
In the same way that the French never bake their baguettes themselves, the Vietnamese don’t make rice paper. They always buy premade rice paper for goi cuon in shops. The paper-thin sheets, made from rice flour and/or tapioca flour, salt and water, are handmade by artisans or manufactured in modern factories with machines.
How to make goi cuon
The rolls are prepared one at a time. A sheet of rice paper (banh trang) is briefly immersed in hot water and placed on a work surface. The fresh ingredients are then placed on the centre of the rice skin in a thick line. A classically filled spring roll contains a piece of lettuce leaf, a mound of cooked rice vermicelli, thin strips of carrot, beansprouts and some mint leaves. The soft, slightly sticky skin will probably be rolled over once and will eventually receive a fried prawn and some coriander. The roll is then sealed. Sometimes the spring rolls are left open on one side so the tempting ingredients are partially exposed.
The spring rolls are often served with a peanut sauce, traditionally made with a piece of pork liver. Other possible sauces are Vietnamese dipping sauce (nuoc cham) and hoisin sauce (tuong xao).
In Western countries, the rolls are not only eaten with raw vegetables and prawns. In our restaurants, you will also find rice sheets filled with chicken, pork, duck, stir-fried vegetables and beef.
How to eat
Hold a goi cuon in your hand and dip it into the dipping sauce before each bite.
This fresh, healthy and largely raw dish is delicious on hot days. If you prefer something hot, try the fried variant, cha gio, also known as imperial rolls. Banh cuon are warm rolls, consisting of steamed rice sheets filled with minced pork and mushrooms.