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Summer Rolls

Vietnamese summer rolls (goi cuon) is a simple and elegant dish featuring rice noodles, vegetables and herbs, shrimp and pork rolled in rice paper wrappers. Assemble and eat! It’s fresh and healthy. Learn how to make classic summer rolls and summer roll dipping sauce in this post.

Laying out all the ingredients (rice noodles, rice paper wrappers, shrimp and pork, vegetables and herbs, dipping sauce) needed to make summer rolls on a dining table.
Ready to assemble and eat summer rolls.

Why This Recipe Works

We love making Summer Rolls for easy, interactive dinners. This is the perfect meal for a group…especially when you don’t feel like cooking ^_^

Just arrange all the ingredients on the table, give everyone a plate and everyone just makes their own roll to eat!

Most of the ingredients are fresh vegetables and herbs along with a protein. Shrimp is the “main” protein, though we like to do a mix of shrimp and roast pork. You can replace shrimp and pork with tofu or any other type of protenin you like! Sometimes I even do it with roast chicken and avocado.

You’ll need rice paper wrappers to form the actual roll, and rice noodles (rice vermicelli) for the carb-y part of this dish.

We make a simple fish sauce dipping sauce called Nuoc Mam / Nuoc Cham. It is nice and garlicky! Dip the roll in the sauce and enjoy.

This is a flexible and easy recipe. It’s fun and forgiving. Your first few rolls might not turn out super beautiful, but they will still be delicious. This is mean to be a casual, healthy meal. It’s so fresh.

We grew up eating lots of summer rolls (which we call goi cuon at home). Summer rolls are still one of my favorite DIY dishes, especially on warmer days. Everyone loves them ^_^

Dipping a summer roll into the Nuoc Mam Dipping Sauce.
Dipping into the Nuoc Mam sauce.

Summer Rolls

Summer roll is a Vietnamese dish and you can find them on the menu of nearly all Vietnamese restaurants in Hawaii. We also see them at casual takeout spots. Once you learn how easy it is to make at home, you’ll be making this lots! It’s such a wonderful way to get a lot of veggies and herbs into your diet. I love how fresh and bright they taste.

Assembling a summer roll.
Ready to roll!

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to get started. The ingredient list is long, but not complicated. Mainly you want all these different ingredients so that you get tons of flavors and fresh, fresh vegetables and herbs in your roll! It’s worth ith ^_^

  • Dried rice paper wrappers
  • Dried rice noodles (rice vermicelli)
  • Shrimp
  • Roast pork (or cooked pork, thinly sliced) – Cooked pork is more traditional, but we LOVE to eat roast pork in Hawaii, so we usually buy roast pork from the market.
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Mint leaves
  • Thai basil leaves
  • Chives (optional)
  • Cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks
A bowl of Nuoc Mam Dipping Sauce.
Nuoc Mam dipping sauce

Nuoc Mam / Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce

Here’s what you’ll need to make the dipping sauce (pictured above):

Assembling a summer roll.
Layer everything and then roll.

Step by Step Directions

Prepare the rice noodles.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add the dried rice noodles. Cook according to time instructions on the package. Drain and quickly rise under cool water. Set aside.

Prepare the shrimp.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute (until it is just cooked). Drain and let cook. Slice the shrimp in half lengthwise (so that you get 20 shrimp halves) and arrange on a plate.

Plate the pork.
Arrange the roast pork (or pork slices) next to the shrimp.

Arrange the table.
Then arrange everything on the dining table. Place the sheets of dried rice paper wrappers on a plate. Next to that, place a shallow dish of water (this is to dip the rice paper sheets).

Wash and dry all the vegetables and herbs. Put them in bowls or plates, and place on the dining table.

Prepare the Nuoc Mam / Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce.
In a mixing bowl combine the fish sauce, water, vinegar, sugar, minced garlic, and chili pepper and carrots (optional). Mix until evenly combined. Spoon out individual portions of the dipping sauce into small bowls, one for each person.

Check out our full post about Nuoc Mam / Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce ^_^

Note: There will be lots of leftover Nuoc Mam /Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce. Store the extra in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It will keep for a few weeks.

A freshly rolled Summer Roll.
Rolled and ready.

Assemble the rolls.
Give everyone a large dinner plate. Everyone will assemble their own rolls on their plate. Take one of the dried rice paper wrappers and dip it in the shallow dish of water for 5 seconds (make sure the sheet is completely submerged). Shake off excess water and place it on your plate.

Top the rice paper wrappers with two shrimp halves on the bottom third of the wrappers. Top the shrimp with one lettuce leaf, the rice noodles, all the herbs and cucumber, and the sliced pork.

Protip: We put the shrimp first with the inside half face up. This is so that when you roll, the outside half of the shrimp will be slightly visible through the wrapper. It makes for an extra pretty roll!

Roll and Eat.
Now it’s time to roll and eat! Fold up the bottom third to cover the fillings. Next, fold in the right and left side. Then roll upwards. Make it night and tight, but don’t break the rice paper wrapper ^_^

Dip the roll into the Nuoc Mam /Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce and bite! Repeat. Eat and enjoy.

A colander filled with fresh vegetables and herbs used to make summer rolls.
Lots and lots of fresh vegetables and herbs.

FAQs and Tips

How long do these rolls keep?

They don’t keep well. Roll them only right before you eat them.

How many rolls per person?

I usually eat 5-6 rolls per meal (more or less depending on big/stuffed I make the rolls).

Difference between summer rolls versus spring rolls?

Summer rolls are the “fresh” rolls. Spring rolls are deep fried.

Dipping the rice paper wrappers.

As noted in the recipe, you’ll need to dip the rice paper wrappers in water to hydrate and soften the wrappers. I usually dip for 5 sections, but you may need to do it a little shorter or longer depending on what brand you use. I also like my wrappers on the softer side, but I know other people may like it on the firmer side. So use the 5 second estimate loosely and do what works for you.

Looking for a similar roll-type, DIY meals?

Try our recipe for Popiah (Chaozhou Fresh Spring Rolls), Homemade Sushi, and Sushi Bake.

What about the peanut dipping sauce?

You might have seen a small dish of peanut dipping sauce in some of the photos in this post. We often alternate between nuoc mam / nuoc cham dipping sauce and peanut dipping sauce. I’m working on the recipe and will have that posted soon! That way you can pick from two different types of dipping sauce ^_^

It’s a flexible recipe!

Feel free to change up any of the vegetables and herbs. Use what you have! Same goes for the protein. Shrimp and pork are the classics, but you can use anything from roast chicken leftovers to tofu, fish, and even avocado. It’s fun to experiment and find the combo of flavors that you love most.

Laying out all the ingredients (rice noodles, rice paper wrappers, shrimp and pork, vegetables and herbs, dipping sauce) needed to make summer rolls on a dining table.
Ready to assemble and eat summer rolls!

Summer Rolls Recipe

See below and enjoy our recipe for Vietnamese Summer Rolls ^_^

Laying out all the ingredients (rice noodles, rice paper wrappers, shrimp and pork, vegetables and herbs, dipping sauce) needed to make summer rolls on a dining table.

Summer Rolls

Yield: 10 summer rolls

Vietnamese summer rolls are a simple and elegant dish featuring rice noodles, vegetables and herbs, pork and shrimp rolled in rice paper wrappers. Assemble, roll, and eat! It's fresh and healthy. Learn how to make classic summer rolls in this post.

Ingredients

Nuoc Mam Dipping Sauce

Instructions

  1. Prepare the rice noodles. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add the dried rice noodles. Cook according to time instructions on the package. Drain and quickly rise under cool water. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the shrimp. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute (until it is just cooked). Drain and let cook. Slice the shrimp in half lengthwise (so that you get 20 shrimp halves) and arrange on a plate.
  3. Arrange the roast pork (or pork slices) next to the shrimp.
  4. Then arrange everything on the dining table. Place the sheets of dried rice paper wrappers on a plate. Next to that, place a shallow dish of water (this is to dip the rice paper sheets).
  5. Wash and dry all the vegetables and herbs. Place them in bowls or plates, whichever is easier.
  6. Prepare the Nuoc Mam Dipping Sauce. In a mixing bowl combine the fish sauce, water, vinegar, sugar, minced garlic, chili pepper, and carrots (optional). Mix until evenly combined. Spoon out individual portions of the dipping sauce into small bowls, one for each person.
  7. Now it’s time to assemble and eat! Give everyone a large dinner plate. Everyone will assemble their own rolls on their plate. Take one of the dried rice paper wrappers and dip it in the shallow dish of water for 5 seconds (make sure the sheet is completely submerged). Shake off excess water and place it on your plate.
  8. Top the rice paper wrappers with two shrimp halves on the bottom third of the wrappers. Top the shrimp with one lettuce leaf, the rice noodles, all the herbs and cucumber, and the sliced pork.
  9. Now it’s time to roll and eat! Fold up the bottom third to cover the fillings. Next, fold in the right and left side. Then roll upwards. Make it night and tight, but don’t break the rice paper wrapper ^_^
  10. Dip the roll into the Nuoc Mam Dipping Sauce and bite! Repeat. Eat and enjoy.

Notes

  • There will be lots of leftover Nuoc Mam Dipping Sauce. Store the extra in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It will keep for a few weeks.
  • Check out our full post about Nuoc Mam / Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce. It is a classic Vietnamese dipping sauce ^_^
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