Vietnamese Pork Summer Rolls

Vietnamese summer rolls are one of my all-time favorite dishes. I don’t know if it’s the fresh flavor of the mint and cilantro, the springy texture when you bite into the rice paper, or the decadent peanut dipping sauce, but I can’t think of a much better appetizer on a hot summer day.

The other weekend, my mom and I helped her friend MJ plan her son’s graduation party. Being the hot weekend it was, summer rolls immediately popped in my mind. I just had to plan the logistics. How far ahead could they be made? Would they keep sitting out for a couple of hours? And most importantly, would other people actually like them as much as I do?

I thought pork would had more mass appeal than the shrimp I normally use, and I also thought ground pork would be easier to bite into than slices. I started by sauteing the ground pork and then seasoning it with fish sauce and brown sugar. My mom and I then tested one to see how they held up; They were okay, but we felt like the pork got kind of dry once it cooled. My mom suggested that we actually put some of the dipping sauce that I had made into the pork mixture. It worked like a charm! Not only was the pork more moist and easy to work with, each bite didn’t even need the dipping sauce.

I wound up prepping all of the ingredients the day before and assembling right before the party. They definitely took longer to assemble than I had anticipated, but I think they were well worth the effort. The pork summer rolls stayed fresh for a couple of hours and seemed to be a huge hit at the party.

Vietnamese Pork Summer Rolls with Peanut-Hoisin Dipping Sauce


    For the Rolls

    • Ground pork (make sure it’s not too lean)
    • Canola oil
    • Fish sauce
    • Brown sugar
    • Scallions, white parts thinly sliced and green parts cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
    • Carrots, julienned
    • Cucumbers, seeded and julienned
    • Romaine lettuce
    • Fresh cilantro leaves
    • Fresh mint leaves
    • Rice noodles (thin ones work best here)
    • Rice paper wrappers

    For the Dipping Sauce

    • 1 c. hoisin sauce
    • ¼ c. smooth peanut butter
    • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • Sriracha, to taste


    Blend together the dipping sauce ingredients, adding sriracha to taste.

    Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork and cook until browned and cooked through. Towards the end of the cooking, add a handful of the thinly sliced scallions, a liberal amount of fish sauce, and a spoonful or so of brown sugar. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Add a couple of large spoonfuls of the dipping sauce (just enough to hold the mixture together) and let it cool.

    Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to package directions and rinse in cold water. Set aside.

    To assemble the spring rolls, put out the cooled pork mixture, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, cilantro, mint, scallions, rice noodles, and rice paper wrappers so that they are easily accessible (kind of like an assembly line). The assembling has to happen quickly! Also set up a large bowl full of hot – but not boiling – water.

    Dip a rice paper wrapper into the water until it is softened, but not falling apart. Lay it down and add a little bit of each filling ingredient, being careful to not over-stuff. I started with the lettuce and ended with the rice noodles, which I think helped them stay together nicely. After stuffing, quickly tuck in each end and roll them up like a burrito.

    Cut each roll in half for a bite sized appetizer and serve with the dipping sauce.

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