In this post, spring rolls and summer rolls are compared side by side so that you know the difference between both of rolls dishes.
Spring rolls and summer rolls are generally dishes that are common in Asian cuisine. At restaurants, often the names of these dishes are interchanged. In this post, you're going to get an overview of the difference between these two delicious Asian rolls!
What is the main difference between spring rolls and summer rolls?
Spring rolls are generally made by rolling a thin wrapper (made of wheat or rice paper) with ingredients like pork and carrots. There are a lot of spring roll variations because a lot of countries and regional locations have their own set of ingredients used for the filling. Some spring rolls can be fried, others are not. Summer rolls are generally associated with Vietnamese cuisine that wraps cooked vermicelli noodles, shrimp, pork, and mint in a moist rice paper. Summer rolls are generally not fried. All summer rolls can be categorized as spring rolls, but not all spring rolls can be summer rolls.
All Summer Rolls Are Spring Rolls
Summer rolls are generally associated with the vermicelli, shrimp, and pork that is rolled in rice paper generally found at Vietnamese restaurants. It's often served with Vietnamese fish sauce or peanut dipping sauce.
All Vietnamese summer rolls are classified as spring rolls or you'll even hear them called salad rolls due to the use of lettuce. Summer rolls are generally associated with Southeast Asian cuisine.
Not All Spring Rolls Are Summer Rolls
Spring rolls can have a crunchy, crisp exterior or have a smooth, soft outer shell. Spring rolls can be made by frying the roll with the ingredients or with the ingredients wrapped with damp rice paper. I know it's confusing, but here's the key takeaway: summer rolls (which can be called spring rolls) are rolls with ingredients that are wrapped with rice paper.
Some Egg Rolls Are Spring Rolls
Often, Vietnamese rolls that are fried are often classified as both egg rolls or spring rolls, depending on what restaurant you go to. For example, in this post where I made Vietnamese rolls that are made of pork, carrots, and other ingredients, and then fried, I called them egg rolls. But they can also be called spring rolls.
There are also variations that have the rice paper that are also fried. These are known as fried spring rolls or fried summer rolls. The fried rice paper variety are popular in North Vietnam.
All Summer Rolls are Salad Rolls
Summer rolls and salad rolls are interchangeable terms to reference the use of damp rice paper that wraps vermicelli noodles, pork, seafood, and vegetable leaves.
Variations of Spring Rolls and Summer Rolls
Across Asia, most countries have their own versions of spring roll recipes. However, summer rolls and salad rolls are generally found specifically in Southeast Asian countries. In Indonesia, there are Lumpia Basah which are un-fried and Lumpia Goreng which are the fried version. Cambodia's version is known as Nime Chow which usually include herbs and shrimp.
What dipping sauce is served with spring rolls versus summer rolls?
Fried spring rolls are generally served with a sweet Vietnamese fish sauce recipe. The non-fried spring rolls and summer rolls can be served with either the sweet Vietnamese fish sauce recipe or a peanut dipping sauce.
General Ingredients Used in Spring Rolls and Summer Rolls
Spring Roll Ingredients (Fried)
Spring roll fried ingredients usually vary depending on country, but generally include carrots, pork, and clear cellophane glass noodles wrapped in thin flour spring roll wrappers.
Spring Roll (also known as Summer Roll) Ingredients (non-Fried)
Spring roll fresh ingredients usually include vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, shrimp, and slices of pork wrapped in damp rice papers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Asian Rolls
Are spring rolls fried?
Spring rolls can be both fried or served with fresh rice paper. Spring rolls can refer to either a roll with a crunchy exterior or a soft, chewy exterior.
Summary of Spring Rolls vs Summer Rolls
Spring rolls and summer rolls have been the entry point to Southeast Asian cuisine, introduced through Asian American restaurants across the country. Now that you know that spring rolls are known also as summer rolls and that there are non-fried and fried versions, I hope you are able to now order or make the Asian roll you really are eyeing!
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