If you’ve read some of my blog posts during COVID-19, you’ll know that my family and I have had no shortage of recipes, dishes, and products to try during this time. Often, and this is a good thing, we find so many new hits that it’s hard to keep track of all of them. Today I will be sharing with you another one of our meal discoveries that took place a few months ago. We’ve had it for dinner at least 5 times by now, and I’ll tell you, we still love it!
It all started at this Vietnamese restaurant in Burlingame called Little Saigon that we ate at a couple years ago. We really took a liking to their fried spring roll wraps and even had it a on some occasions for dinner as takeout. The wraps were really only some lettuce, white rice noodles, and a spring roll, but nevertheless, they were super yummy. Around 5-6 months ago, in the spirit of trying new dishes, my mom attempted to make a homemade version of the Vietnamese wraps so that we could enjoy them at home even during the pandemic. And surprise: They were spot on!
If you remember a while back, I wrote a post on some neat Trader Joe’s food products that we were enjoying. If you have an even better memory, you’ll recall that one of the items on the list was the Trader Joe’s veggie spring rolls! Super easy to make, crunchy, and delicious, these Vietnamese staples were the perfect choice for our re-creation of one of our go-to takeout foods. From there on out, we added a delicious dipping sauce, lettuce, some garnishes, and the perfect white vermicelli rice noodles. And that was it. The spring rolls, if you didn’t know, are frozen, so really, if you think about it, there’s not a whole lot of cooking.
I think that the whole reason why these wraps are so delicious is because they involve so many elements. Every bite includes a little bit of all the ingredients that you love. It’s a combined effort. The noodles don’t work without the sauce, and the sauce doesn’t work without the noodles. You’ll find that there’s probably no good way to eat these wraps in a neat manner, which is great because after you notice the ingredients spilling out onto the plate, it kind of makes you want to gobble it up all the faster. Sometimes when I’m eating one, I’ll be thinking “Oh no!” when the stuff starts falling out, but at the same time, just enjoying the simply delicious mix of everything swimming around in my mouth. It’s quite an experience.
List of foods (most are optional, and you can add your own special garnishes if you like as well):
Before you view the following, I want to give a shoutout to one of our family friends, Aunty Grace, who helped inspire us to try this dish out on our own in the first place.
- Trader Joe’s Veggie Spring Rolls (that’s what we recommend, but any other brand that you like will probably also work as well)
- Three Ladies Fine Rice Vermicelli (we usually go for the “pad” version, but if you can’t find that, the normal version works as well (just plain old noodles))
- Lettuce: Just plain lettuce, washed of course and cut into whatever size/shape you want. Probably depends on how large you cut your spring rolls (we usually cut them in half).
- Dipping Sauce (although you’ll find that the sauce is just killer, I would just bring up the fact that with all its strong flavors, you really don’t need that much; we often have a ton of leftover sauce): 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon fish sauce, 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon chili paste with garlic (optional), 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger, 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Picked Vegetables: To add a fresh, fermented side to your wrap, just cut up whatever vegetables you’d like to pickle (we usually do and highly recommend carrots and white radish) and put them in a jar of vinegar, sugar, and salt to chill for a while. For this, it’s really up to you how intense you want your pickled flavor to be, so definitely test the amount of each portion out a little to see what you like best.
- Chopped Peanuts: No explanation here, just get your favorite brand of peanuts and slice them up! Any size should work.
- Fried Scallions: Throw some diced scallions into a pan or pot full of oil and just fry until they’re nice and crispy.
- Extra’s: Sriracha, fried garlic with chili oil (another new, but yummy Asian based topping), or plum sauce can all work with the wraps, although we do recommend that you give the featured sauce above a shot as it fits in perfectly with the wraps.
Once’ve you made/prepared everything, just set it all out like in the picture below and you’re done! Usually what you do is take the lettuce, and then add the noodles, and then the spring roll, and then all the garnishes, but I’m sure that any other sort of “procedure” would work just as well.
So in conclusion, the one thing I learned from eating these amazing Vietnamese wraps is that if you pile on enough of your favorite toppings, what can go wrong? But in all seriousness, this dish is actually one of the biggest finds that we’ve had in a while. It feels super authentic, you get a little bit of everything, it’s customizable/flexible, and most of all, it’s easy to make. Like I’ve said a 1000 times before, I 100% recommend these wraps. At first, I personally didn’t really like the idea of having veggie spring rolls as the main feature of the dish, but they are surprisingly tasty. Maybe a little messy as well, nevertheless, tasty. When you’re in this distanced lifestyle, I’m sure something like this, even if you don’t normally eat Vietnamese food, is just what you’ve been looking for.
Thanks for reading!