Cha Gio: Crispy Vietnamese Spring Rolls

OMNIVOROUS

For those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, I’m half Vietnamese. Which means I grew up not only eating all sorts of American food, but lots of fantastic Vietnamese cuisine; my mother and grandmother are both excellent cooks, and so I was lucky to have had such exposure to a world of wonderfully fresh and (for some) exotic foods. Growing up my comfort foods were pho, banh xeo, and cha gio (pronounced sorta like CHA-YAW).

Lots of people are now familiar with cha gio, that Vietnamese riff on a fried, meat-filled roll, like the ubiquitous Chinese egg roll or Filipino lumpia. I find the Vietnamese version, when done well, far superior to any other style of egg roll, and it’s not only because I’ve grown up eating them. Cha gio are generally lighter and crisper than egg rolls; the filling is a mix of…

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