Appetizer and Side dish

    Crispy Mayo Seafood Spring Rolls (Nem hai san)

    These crispy mayo seafood spring rolls are so satisfying with piping hot filling which includes crab meat, shrimp, and mayonnaise. Serve them with spicy mayo dip, lettuce, and mint, and they will disappear from the plate in no time.


    Overview of Vietnamese fried spring rolls

    Fried spring rolls are called cha nem, nem ran or cha gio in Vietnam. They are extremely popular in all regions of Vietnam. You can find them at many street food establishments, in our daily home-cooked meals or our meals for special occasions. Every place and every family make their fried spring rolls differently. There isn’t a single spring roll recipe on which we all agree. I categorize Vietnamese fried spring rolls into three main types.

    1. Traditional spring rolls

    This is the type most people in Vietnam will think of when you mention spring rolls in general. They usually consist of ground pork, cellophane noodles, dried shiitake mushroom, beaten egg, bean sprouts and diced vegetables (such as carrot, jicama, and kohlrabi). We wrap them in rice paper wrappers and then fry them twice for extra crispiness. My family always put some crab meat and shrimp in these traditional rolls, but I know not everyone does this. However, I will tell you that good traditional fried spring rolls need at least shrimp in it.

    2. My hometown signature seafood spring rolls (Nem cua be Hai Phong)

    To me, this is the best spring roll in the world. There are two main differences between this type and type no. 1 above. Traditional rolls have a tubular shape while these rolls have a square shape. These square rolls, wrapped in big rice paper wrappers, are usually larger than the traditional ones, and the crust is amazingly flaky and crispy. The second difference is the filling. The main ingredients of these signature rolls are crab meat and shrimp. Yes, a lot of crab meat and shrimp. The rolls have minimal “filler” ingredients.

    3. Mayo seafood spring rolls

    These mayo seafood spring rolls are mainly popular in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. They include crab meat, shrimp, carrot, onion, and mayonnaise. The recipe today is for these rolls, and they are so delicious that I believe they can please all picky eaters.

    Restaurants in Hanoi usually coat them with panko before frying. I wrap them with spring roll wrappers, and I don’t add the panko coating. It’s much quicker, less messy and the spring rolls are still perfectly crispy. Please make sure you buy spring roll wrappers that don’t contain eggs. They provide a smoother and crispier skin than egg roll wrappers. I use the Spring Home brand, and you can find them in the freezer at Asian grocery stores.

    I use snow crab for these mayo seafood spring rolls, and if I could get dungeness crab here, I would gladly use it. Please use high-quality crab meat for the best result. All ingredients are quickly sautéed to cook off the moisture before we wrap the rolls. Since I prepare spicy mayo dip, I don’t want to go overboard with the amount of mayo in the filling. If you like creamier and richer filling, go ahead and add 1-2 tablespoons more than in the recipe.

    Because all ingredients in the filling have been sautéed, you only need a few minutes to fry the spring rolls, just enough for the skin to turn golden brown and crispy. Crisp lettuce and mint are great accompaniments since they add aroma and brighten up these spring rolls.

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