When I moved to Minnesota back in 2009 as a Freshman in college, I had eaten at most 4 different types of cuisine: American, Italian, Chinese, Mexican, and possibly Indian. None of them were extremely authentic either, unless you count American I suppose. Actually, I’m not even sure if we as Americans have our own cuisine per say, but that’s a question for another day.
Anyways, the college I went to was right among a large Somali population near downtown Minneapolis and now I’m living in a melting pot of so many other cultures where I can walk one way and eat at an authentic Ethiopian restaurant then walk the other way for Thai or Japanese or Greek.
It’s so exciting to walk out my front door and see people from all walks of life sharing their customs and cultural influence with each other and best of all to experience their food!
In my book, it’s a huge privilege to be invited into a person’s life, especially when it’s getting to know someone over a meal. When I eat for the first time at a small family restaurant and I’m being introduced to a specific type of cuisine I’ve never been exposed to before, it’s like a little passport into their world, as cheesy at that may sound.
You’ve probably heard the saying that food brings people together, but it’s so true! Whether it’s your closest friends or family sharing a meal or you’re being served by completely strangers at a new restaurant, you always walk away feeling a sense of connection to the people or the place.
Kev and I visited a little place about a month ago called “My Huong Kitchen” a highly rated Vietnamese restaurant in Minneapolis with about 10 seats and a menu that makes you want to order everything on it. We of course had to start with an order of shrimp spring rolls and after getting home that night I had them on my mind for days…
The veggies were so fresh and crunchy and the sauce provided the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, that I couldn’t wait to try making them!
I will admit, be prepared to spend a bit of time cutting your veggies (if you’re going for matchsticks) but you’ll survive. My set-up while veggie chopping is usually cutting board, knife, mound of veggies, iPad with Netflix, and cat. Gross I know, but the cat’s favorite place to be is on our kitchen cart which also happens to be where I do most of the chopping. The perils of having a small kitchen…
I love how bright and colorful these are, and they keep excellently in the fridge for a few days! Be sure to keep them in a sealed container though so the rice wrappers don’t start to dry out.
I dedicate today to yummy spring rolls!
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
- Yield: 6 1x
- 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ daikon radish, cut into matchsticks
- 1 cucumber, seeded and cut into matchsticks
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced **optional – if you will be refrigerating the spring rolls and eating for leftovers, I would recommend leaving out the avocado
- 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded **I used a pre-cooked rotiserrie chicken
- 1 bunch mint, finely chopped
- 12 rice paper wrappers
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- ¼ cup soy sauce (affiliate)
- ¼ cup peanut butter (affiliate)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- water **if needed to thicken sauce
- Fill a large shallow dish with water, place 1 rice wrapper in water for 3 seconds on each side.
- Remove from dish and place on cutting board. In the middle of the wrapper, layer all veggies, chopped mint, and shredded chicken.
- Fold both ends in, then roll up tightly like a burrito. Place aside. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Keep spring rolls chilled until ready to eat.
- Whisk together hoisin, soy, peanut butter, oil, and red pepper flakes in small bowl. Add water to thin if necessary.
- Serve dipping sauce with rolls.
Other Asian Recipes You’ll Love!
Pressure Cooker Simple Sesame Noodles
Asian Grilled Chicken Lettuce Wraps With Dorot
Crunchy Napa Cabbage Asian Slaw