Spring rolls and egg rolls are two popular types of Asian-inspired cuisine. They are both made with a variety of fillings, but there are some distinct differences between the two. In this article, we will explore the differences between spring rolls vs egg rolls, as well as their history and origins.
You’ve probably had the pleasure of eating both of these types of appetizers. If you enjoy Asian food, they’re on almost every menu at a Thai or Chinese restaurant. Even if you’ve had both of them, you might not know the actual difference between them, and that is because they can vary so much from restaurant to restaurant.
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So What IS the Difference?
In general, spring rolls are wrapped in thin flour or rice wrapper which can be either served fresh or fried, while egg rolls are wrapped in a noticeably thicker wrapper – usually a wonton wrapper – that also be dipped in egg before being deep fried. When deep fried, the wrapper get very crispy and bubbles up. Spring rolls typically have a smooth crunchy surface.
Origin of Spring Rolls & Egg Rolls
While the true origin and date of conception of these appetizers is not definitively known, they both originated in Chinese cuisine and have been adopted throughout Southeast Asia cuisines. The kind of wrapper, fillings, and cooking technique, as well as the name, varies quite a bit within these countries, which is what often leads to the confusion about them.
While spring rolls are more common in places like Thailand and Hong Kong, egg rolls are more likely to have originated in Southern China, according to one source because it has roots in Cantonese cuisine. Another source claims that eggrolls as we know them today in America was likely invented in New York sometime in the early 1930s.
Regardless of where they actually first began, it is clear that they have evolved over time and are now being served around the world in many forms.
What Are Spring Rolls?
Spring rolls are typically made with a variety of vegetables, including cabbage, carrots, and bean sprouts – even minced chicken or pork – and wrapped in a smooth rice or wheat flour wrapper.
Spring rolls can be served raw and uncooked, usually with raw veggies, cellophane noodles and sometimes shrimp inside. These are sometimes called summer rolls and are usually dipped in a savory peanut sauce.
Spring rolls can also be deep fried or baked. The filling is usually pre-cooked. Fried spring rolls are usually served with a dipping sauce, such as soy sauce or vinegar. Spring rolls originated in China, and are now popular in many Asian countries, as well as around the world.
What Are Egg Rolls?
Egg rolls, on the other hand, are made with a variety of meat and vegetable fillings, including pork, chicken, shrimp, and cabbage. They are rolled in a thicker wheat or rice wrapper that bubbles up when cooked.
Egg rolls are always deep-fried, and often served with a sweet and sour sauce. Egg rolls likely originated in China, but they have become popular everywhere. Why are they called egg rolls? The answer is not clear, but it’s possible they were made with egg in the wrapper, or dipped in egg before being fried.
What About Other Types?
As we mentioned, often times a spring rolls was made popular in another country in Asia under another name. One such variation is the Lumpia, which is the name for spring rolls in Indonesia and the Philippines. The fried version with minced pork is called imperial rolls or chả giò in Vietnam. In Austria and Germany, deep-fried spring rolls are called Frühlingsrolle. In Brazil, spring rolls are called either rolinhos-primavera.
There are literally dozens of others. The variations do not stop there. The similarities are often vast, while the differences are small or non-existent. However, everyone has their own version and that’s what makes it unique.
Conclusion: Spring Rolls vs Egg Rolls: What’s the Difference?
So, what is the difference between spring rolls and egg rolls? Spring rolls are typically lighter and more refreshing, while egg rolls are heavier and more filling. Both are delicious, so it really just comes down to personal preference.
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Laura is the founder and editor of the travel blogs Savored Sips and Savored Journeys. She is dedicated to sharing the best information about drinks found around the world.