A central region twist to the spring roll

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The humble spring roll is found throughout Vietnam but the ingredients, and even its name, differ from region to region


Ram cuốn, the humble spring roll, a specialty of the central province of Quang Ngai

Ram cuốn, the humble spring roll, is a traditional dish served at all parties - Tet, engagements, weddings, and death anniversaries.

Though it is easy to make and thus often made when there are visitors at home, it is not without its subtleties.

In different parts of the country, there are differences in its ingredients and even name - it is called nem rán in the north, chả giò in the south, and ram cuốn in the central.

The filling changes according to local tastes but usually has some common ingredients such as pork, shrimp, crab, fish, finely threaded taro, and sweet potato. The wrapper is made of rice paper.

In the central province of Quang Ngai, there are several variations of the dish.

For the filling people here use a whole shrimp, marinating it, stir-frying it, and adding thinly cut green onions and pork.

In another variety, they use fresh corn seeds as the main ingredient.

A popular delicacy in the province, it comes in two versions. The deep fried one tastes crispy and greasy; when grilled over burning coals, it is less greasy but still delicious.

When preparing the corn, people often choose glutinous baby corn with soft seeds to make the dish more delicious. The seeds are taken out, put in a mortar and ground fine, and mixed with onion, garlic, and pepper.

In Ho Chi Minh City, you can enjoy the central region's spring roll with corn stuffing at the following address:

DON RESTAURANT
47 Bau Cat 1 Street, Ward 14, Tan Binh District, HCMC

Oil is heated in a pan, the mixture of corn seeds is put in it and stir-fried quickly until the fragrance wafts through the house, indicating the seeds are done.

The mixture is then placed in rice paper and rolled up, ready to be fried.

To make the dish more delicious, the mixture of corn seeds is added to eggs, pork and chopped boiled shrimp before being placed in either thick or thin rice paper and wrapped to produce thumb-sized spring rolls.

People often use monosodium glutamate instead of salt to enhance the flavor and taste.

To keep the spring roll crisp, some lemon juice is added to the oil or some sugar is put in the water used to dip the rice paper before wrapping.

The spring roll can be fried or grilled.

It has a greasy, salty taste from the shrimp, fragrance and sweetness from the corn seeds, and a crispy texture from the rice paper.

It should be enjoyed with a dipping sauce, pickles, lettuce and herbs.

Carrots, radishes, and green papaya are thinly sliced and added to sweet and sour vinegar to make the pickles.

The dipping sauce is made by adding lime, chili, garlic and sugar to fish sauce.

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