My partner is a little more precise about his culinary ventures than me, knowing what he likes and what he doesn’t like. For years we have debated the difference on a Chinese takeaway menu, between a spring roll and a crispy pancake roll. He vehemently defends the latter his reason being more protein, less rabbit food. I always counter attack with ‘if that were true why sell meat spring rolls’. He then gets bored and mumbles ‘well I can tell the difference’. While some restaurants only sell one or the other, I had come to the conclusion they are practically the same thing jumping between to alias.
I am determined to discover the difference, which is not proving easy. Opinion is divided and hazy at best, ranging from size to veg versus meat. My research then dragged egg rolls and summer rolls into the mix. Gggrrrr! Thankfully I quickly clarified a summer roll, which is served cold and of Vietnamese origin. The wrapper is typically made of rice paper filled with shrimp or pork, carrot, lettuce, cucumber, rice noodles and herbs.
Where it get’s interesting is the definition of an egg roll and I believe where lies the answer. Egg rolls are an American-Chinese variant of the traditional spring roll. And the difference lies not in the filling, but the wrapper. Spring roll wrappers are made from wheat flour and water. The batter is steamed to form a thin pancake, thinner and lighter in colour. Whereas egg roll wrappers are made from wheat flour, egg and water producing a dough which is rolled, stuffed and deep fried. The addition of eggs inevitably alters the flavour like my partner claims. Ultimately when I next go to a restaurant which serves both, I will order both and examine the difference.