Everything about China and it's culture

Everything about China and it's culture

Egg Rolls

The egg roll is ubiquitous at Chinese restaurants in the West. It also shows up in collections of Chinese recipes.  This delicious food, made by rolling vegetables, meat and noodles in a thin dough shell, dipping it in egg and deep frying it, is one of the most essential parts of Chinese cuisine!

Or is it? In fact, there’s some debate about where egg rolls actually came from. Some claim that they’re not Chinese at all, but actually Malaysian, Phillipino, or elsewhere in Southeast Asia. One website even claims they have their origins in Calcutta, India.

Who exactly invented the egg roll may be in some ways an unanswerable question. The point, however, is that while egg roll like foods have been their predecessors are an essential part of South Chinese food – as distinct from North Chinese food – these are not necessarily the egg rolls known in the West. Egg rolls are very different in different parts of South China and Southeast Asia, and the ones served in “Chinese” restaurants in the West may not be Chinese at all. Chinese egg rolls are usually made with a wheat-flour shell. Vietnamese “egg rolls” are better known as spring rolls. These are made with a rice-flour shell and don’t include any egg at all.

The idea that egg rolls are essentially Chinese is so deeply entrenched in the West that all of these different types of egg rolls appear in Chinese restaurants of every flavor. Hunan restaurants have them; Peking duck restaurants have them; and Sichuan restaurants have them – even though egg rolls are distinctly not a part of any of these types of cuisine. In the end, one is tempted to conclude that egg rolls aren’t Chinese at all, but Western.

One Response to Egg Rolls

  1. This really answered my problem, thank you!

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