Vietnamese Summer Rolls: Keeping the Taste of Summer Alive (A Video Recipe)

As we look out the window of our sublet in Berlin today, leaves are changing colors, temperatures are dropping, and intermittent rain storms are battling with a sun that struggles to peek through the clouds. No doubt about it: summer is fading away in the northern hemisphere.

So we offer a suggestion on how to hold on to the taste and freshness of summer: Vietnamese summer rolls.

Good thing is, they’re easier to make than you think.

Fresh Spring Rolls - Hanoi, Vietnam
Vietnamese Summer Rolls in Hanoi, Vietnam

Have you ever tried summer rolls (think unfried spring rolls) at a Vietnamese restaurant and loved them, but figured they would just be too difficult to make at home?

Well, they aren’t. Heck, we even made them in the Czech countryside.

We’ve taught several of our friends how to make them and figured we’d share our approach with you.

The trickiest part is finding some key ingredients. But if we can source things like Thai basil and rice paper in Prague, Czech Republic you can probably find them where you live, provided you seek it out. Along the way, you may also find that the people you meet and the conversations you have are half the fun.

So, watch the video below as Dan takes you through the making of a Vietnamese summer roll. Then try it yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

Eating With Dan and Audrey: Vietnamese Summer Rolls Recipe

Summer rolls and dips are subject to endless variation and improvisation. That’s part of their beauty: mix, match, experiment, eat, enjoy. If you have your own technique, suggestions, or special ingredients for making summer rolls and dipping sauce, please share them in the comments below!

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  1. says

    Very yummy! We loved to eat them in Vietnam & we found a great restaurant in Cologne, which just offer them the original way. But the best is to do them yourself! We had them on birthday parties & people loved to do them themselves in the kitchen!

  2. says

    @Melvin: A summer roll party is so much fun – people love being able to create their own “perfect” roll and get into the action. We had a few of them in Prague before we left and everyone always had a great time.

  3. says

    Yum! Vietnamese Spring Rolls are one of my favourites. We can find all the ingredients here in Canada and I mad them for my mom and dad just the other day. They loved them and now they are hooked!

  4. says

    Sublime! These are Adam’s favorite thing in the world besides his iPad, London, and, well…me! Thank goodness we live in LA, where we have rice wrappers at the grocery store and Vietnamese restaurants galore.

    But I have to say, I love that you can find Asian ingredients in Prague, too! Who would have thought? :)

  5. says

    Funny, I just made these here in Paraguay last week! Wrappers and rice noodles are very expensive here so I brought some in my suitcase the last time I returned from the US. Definitely worth the hassle to get a delicious taste of home – we used to eat them in Rhode Island all the time at our favorite Cambodian restaurant. The cambodian version is pretty much the same as Vietnam´s and is called “nime chow.” The dipping sauce is rice vinegar, water, sugar, lime and lots of ground peanuts. My mouth is watering.. time to make them again! Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. says

    @Dave & Deb: Once people try these summer rolls, they are usually hooked – there’s just something about them! We introduced them to our friends in Bratislava recently and they still talk about it.

    @Melanie: Los Angeles is incredible for Vietnamese (any Asian) food & I’m sure there are endless options for Asian grocers. So nice. One of our secret skills is being able to find Asian or ethnic food products in odd places. No joke. Wonder if we could offer this is as a service :)

    In Prague, we first discovered the big Vietnamese markets on the outskirts thanks to a waitress at a Thai restaurant. Dan asked her where the restaurant bought kaffir lime leaves and she offered to take us the next day to the Vietnamese market. We went, she introduced us to her favorite food shop and we’ve been buying our fresh herbs and Asian products there ever since. After spending so much time in Asia, the market now feels like “home” to us each time we visit Prague.

    @Dave: Once you get the ingredients, it is super easy. Just be sure not to put the rice paper in the water for too long. Enjoy!

    @Natalia: I love how you brought rice wrappers with you to Paraguay from your recent visit to the States. We are the same way – who cares about clothes, but those special ingredients for favorite dishes are where it’s at. The dipping sauce you describe sounds great! We’ll need to try that out next time as hoisin sauce is good, but it can be a bit heavy and sweet.

  7. Phyllis says

    Well, Dan makes them look so good – we will have to try them! I like the idea of a “build your own” spring roll dinner. We did that once with kabobs and everyone got exactly what they wanted, it was a fun activity to do, and the pressure was off of us to have an elaborate meal ready right as guests walked in. We will definitely have to try a “build your own spring roll” dinner. :) Thank you!

  8. says

    @Phyllis: A do-it-yourself kabob party – that does sound like fun. We love these sort of dinners where you prepare the ingredients and then everyone gets into the action and makes their own combination based on their tastes. I highly recommend the “build your own spring roll party,” as well as build your own crepe and burrito parties. Enjoy!

  9. says

    I saw Dan introduce himself but who was the voice in the background and what’s that blue thing in the background.

    Did you have a camera above the table?

  10. says

    @John: Ohhh, smoked salmon and avocado. Love it. Nice suggestion.

    @Dave: That voice in the background? Audrey, of course. I didn’t think she needed any introduction. And she’s also rather dexterous.

    The blue thing in the background: a prop.

  11. says

    Why would you (Dan) introduce yourself? I know you…

    I just kept wondering…Is that Audrey? Who is that mystery voice…in between the times I was trying to figure out what’s that dark blue thing…

  12. says

    You can’t go wrong with Vietnamese spring rolls. Vietnamese cuisine was my fave during our RTW trip and I always seek it out wherever we go. James and I just landed in Barcelona for 3 months so if anyone has suggestions for Vietnamese restaurants, give a holler!


  13. says

    @Dave: So you see we have a long ways to go in our video skills. It was too much of a pain to remove the blue tarp for the table – sheer laziness.

    @Johanna: If you’re going to be in Barcelona for three months, try making these at home instead of going out to Vietnamese restaurants! Have fun in Barcelona – it’s a great city.

    @Caz: You’re lucky to be moving into summer since you’re in the southern hemisphere! Enjoy making these!

  14. says

    I love making these back in Canada. I have to say that I’m really missing South East Asian food in Latin America, if you guys know of any from your travels here I’d love to hear them. Life without sriracha is just sad.

  15. says

    @Margo: If you can make summer rolls in the Czech countryside, you can probably make them anywhere! Have fun with these.

    @Ayngelina: We went through SE Asian food withdrawal in Latin America as well. I think a bottle of sriracha should make packing lists for people going into Latin America.

    Lima has some Japanese restaurants (I know, not exactly SE Asia) and La Paz had a couple of “Asian” restaurants offering Thai and other dishes (not great, but helps in a pinch). There is also a decent Indian curry house in La Paz called Star of India with a good lunch menu. In Buenos Aires there is Lotus Neo Thai which is pretty good, but also pricey. Good luck and please let us know if you find more SE Asian places along the way!


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