Summer Roll (Gỏi cuốn)
A summer roll or fresh roll (gỏi cuốn) is a Vietnamese dish consisting of pork, shrimp, herbs, bún (rice vermicelli), and other ingredients wrapped in rice paper. They are served at room temperature, and are not deep fried. Summer roll has gradually gained popularity among Vietnam's neighboring countries and in the West.
Gỏi cuốn are called by several different English names, including "salad roll," "fresh roll," "fresh spring roll," and "summer roll." Sometimes the word "Vietnamese" is added at the beginning of these words, for example, in Hong Kong they are called "Vietnamese roll," or "Vietnamese spring rolls" in Australia. Some Asian restaurants in the United States also refer them as "crystal roll" or "soft roll."
Fresh rolls are easily distinguished from similar rolls by the fact that they are not fried and that the ingredients used are different from (deep-fried) Vietnamese spring rolls. Fresh rolls have gradually become more popular in Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos as well as in Canada and the US or wherever there are a significant number of Vietnamese people.
Summer rolls are served with a special sauce named tương xào consisting of ground tương (tương đen or tương xay) and ground chè đậu mixed with tamarind water, garlic and coconut water (or broth), before being stir-fried with garlic and some sugar and then sprinkled with chili powder and ground peanuts. Alternatively, gỏi cuốn can be served with peanut sauce or few other Vietnamese dipping sauces.
Presently if you travel to Vietnam you can still see Vietnamese hand making rice paper and placing them on the rectangle bamboo trays around their houses. Fresh roll is a finger food and is always served with dipping sauce. In the West, Vietnamese restaurants usually serve fresh roll as an appetizer while it is considered a snack in Vietnam.
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