You’ve surely bitten into a spring roll at some time, enjoying the blend between crunchy pastry and succulent filling. But did you know that these golden rolls are traditionally linked with the Chinese New Year? They’re a way of welcoming the return of spring after the harshness of winter.
The history of the spring roll
As well as welcoming a new season, spring rolls represent fortune and wealth through their colour, gold. Eating them during Chinese New Year might not guarantee wealth for the coming months, but they’ll certainly be a tasty part of your feast. Spring rolls, which have been around at least as long as China has had written records, have traditionally varied in quality according to a family’s wealth.
Originally flat pancakes, spring rolls started appearing as rolled-up treats in the 14th century. Whereas the rolls are popular worldwide today, they’re particularly popular in regions south of the Yangtze River. Did you know that their size varies around the world? In China, they’re generally delicate, filled with vegetables and small enough for a dim sum menu. Meanwhile, Chinese restaurants in the West dish up larger rolls that are often meat-filled.
How is a spring roll made?
Flour is mixed with a little water and salt, kneaded into a dough and formed into round pancakes. The filling is placed on the pancakes before they’re rolled up. The two ends are tucked in, and then the rolls are deep-fried until golden brown. In some regions, spring rolls may be steamed instead of fried.
Sliced meat, vegetables, seafood, nuts and an array of flavourings make up the fillings of traditional rolls. However, if you want to be a little more adventurous, try filling the rolls with smoked salmon, tapenade, grated apple and cheese or even strawberry and shrimp!
How to eat spring rolls
There are only two ways to eat spring rolls – with chopsticks or with your fingers. Whichever way you choose, add extra taste with a dip such as chilli sauce, soy sauce with a dash of wasabi or even horseradish sauce. A side salad of sweet tomato slices is the perfect accompaniment.
If your mouth is watering at the thought of spring rolls, check out the fine Singapore restaurants foodpanda has partnered with. Try spring rolls from Swee Choon Tim Sum, or make your own with fresh ingredients from 7 Wonders Mala Hotpot.