Cha gio or Vietnamese egg rolls is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes, appearing at dinner parties and family dinners alike. It is such a versatile dish that can be eaten as an appetizer dipped in nuoc cham or in a vermicelli bowl like bun cha gio. This blog post will teach you how to make a large batch of authentic cha gio, and how to achieve consistent results every time!

A plate of cha gio

I was going through in my head which Vietnamese recipes I have not made yet because there really aren’t that many left, and I was like I haven’t made egg rolls! Cha gio remains one of my favorite dishes in Vietnamese culture, and it’s definitely one of the most popular. It can be eaten in a variety of different ways and is actually really easy to store.

My mom usually makes 50 at once and freezes most of them for later. When she’s ready to have some, she pulls out a few, fries them, and serves them. This recipe is one that me and her have made for years (over 30 years and counting!), so it has been tested many times over.

cha gio

What is cha gio?

Vietnamese egg rolls are called Cha Gio. They are made with ground meat (usually pork), mushrooms, noodles, and diced vegetables (usually carrots or jicama) all wrapped in rice paper. Like a lot of other Vietnamese dishes, there is no standard version of this recipe. Every cha gio recipe varies by family or individual. My version, or rather my mom’s version, of cha gio uses ground pork, minced shrimp, wood ear mushrooms, cellophane noodles, and diced jicama for the filling.

For the crispy exterior, she uses egg roll wrappers instead of rice paper which is pretty non-traditional. The use of wheat-based egg roll wrappers became more common in Western countries because they last longer than rice paper. Cha gio made with rice paper only lasts a few hours because the skin becomes soggy quickly.  Those made with egg roll wrappers last a few months with proper storage.

What is the difference between Chinese and Vietnamese egg rolls?

The biggest difference between Chinese and Vietnamese egg rolls is the filling. Vietnamese egg rolls use Vietnamese ingredients such as wood ear mushrooms and fish sauce whereas these ingredients would not be found in Chinese egg rolls.

filling ingredients

Ingredients, Substitutions & Adjustments

  • Ground pork – The most traditional meat used in these egg rolls. I would definitely try to use ground pork if you can, but if you need a substitute, use ground chicken.
  • Shrimp – Shrimp adds a bit of sweetness to this dish.
  • Wood ear mushrooms – Adds texture and umami flavor to these egg rolls. If you can’t find wood ear mushrooms, use shiitake mushrooms.
  • Cellophane noodles (fensi) – These are the thin clear noodles you see in Asian grocery stores. Make sure to soak the noodles before adding them to the other ingredients. If you can’t find this ingredient, I would just leave it out.
  • Yellow onion – Adds sweetness and texture to this dish.
  • Jicama – Adds sweetness and texture to this dish. Use daikon or turnip as a substitute.
  • Eggs – Binds the filling together.
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Granulated sugar – Adds sweetness to the dish.
  • Sesame oil & fish sauce – Adds a smoky and umami flavor to the dish.
  • Egg roll wrappers – This is used to form the egg rolls. I would use any brand of egg roll wrapper you can find. If you can’t find egg roll wrappers, use rice paper. Rice paper is the more traditional wrapper used for Vietnamese egg rolls.
  • Neutral oil for frying – I use vegetable oil but any kind of neutral oil should work.

Which brand of egg roll wrappers should you use?

I’ve tested a few different brands of egg roll wrappers and they’re definitely not all the same. The ones that I like to use the most is the Wei Chuan spring roll wrapper shells or the Spring Home spring roll pastry. Both egg roll wrappers have a nice springy texture that enables you to wrap the egg roll tightly. They also fry really well.

These wrappers need to be stored frozen if you don’t use them right away. Before you use them, make sure to defrost them before. Otherwise, they will rip.

mixed filling

How to make cha gio

Cha gio can be a labor of love, but it is so worth it in the end! Also make sure to not lose hope when you make these. It took me awhile to get them right!

Making the egg roll filling

First make the filling. Add the ground pork, shrimp wood ear mushrooms, cellophane noodles, onions, and jicama to a large bowl. Separate the yolk from the egg whites. Add the egg yolks to the mixture, and set aside the egg whites in a small bowl. Lastly, add the garlic salt, pepper, granulated sugar, sesame oil, and fish sauce to the mixture. Mix everything together using your hands or a large spoon. Take a small piece of the filling and sear it on the stove. Once done cooking, taste it to check for seasoning. If it tastes bland, add more salt.

How to Wrap Egg Rolls (Step-by-Step Instructions)

Once you’re satisfied with the filling, you can now start rolling your egg rolls!

  1. Take one egg roll wrapper and place it flat on a plate, so it is shaped like a diamond.
  2. Fold the bottom corner up about 2/3 up the wrapper (see picture for reference).
  3. Place 3 tablespoons of the filling at the bottom of the wrapper. This is the edge of the wrapper closest to you. Pinch the filling it so it is evenly distributed and about 4 inches long.
  4. Fold the left and right edges tightly over the filling, so it now looks like an open envelope.
  5. Grab the bottom of the egg roll and begin rolling it tightly. When you get to the end of the wrapper, dip your finger into the egg whites and wet the top corner of the wrapper. This is the glue that will seal your egg roll. Finish rolling your egg roll. Repeat this process until you run out of egg roll wrappers or filling.

Frying your egg rolls

Heat neutral oil to 270 degrees F (132 degrees C). Use enough oil, so it comes 1 inch up the pan or pot you’re using. Fry for ~10 minutes until golden brown on all sides. If the oil doesn’t fully cover your egg rolls, fry for 5 minutes on each side. Make sure to keep the temperature around 270 degrees, so the egg roll fries slowly and your filling cooks through. Place egg rolls on paper towels to soak up excess oil and serve! Eat with fresh herbs or in a vermicelli bowl.

Cha Gio Video

rolled egg rolls

Tips on how to make the perfect cha gio

Roll your egg rolls TIGHTLY

Make sure your egg rolls are as tight as possible. Any small opening will allow oil to seep inside, and your egg roll wrapper will break apart.

Don’t use too much filling and spread it out evenly

The key to getting a uniform shape is to shape your filling evenly! It also helps your egg roll cook all the way through. I usually aim to use 3 tablespoons of filling, spreading it out 4 inches wide and 3/4 of an inch thick. See images above for reference.

How do you make sure your egg rolls fry evenly?

Definitely take your time frying these things. I like to keep my temperature around 270 degrees F so the egg roll cooks through and it is golden brown on all sides.

How do you store cha gio?

My mom does this a lot. She usually makes a huge batch and fries only some of them. She then puts the rest in a freezer bag to store for later. Every time she wants to make a few, she heats up some oil and throws them in. The egg rolls should keep for ~3 months in the freezer.

How do you eat cha gio?

Traditionally, you can eat egg rolls 2 ways. You can wrap them in lettuce and some herbs and dip them in nuoc cham. This is how Vietnamese people eat them as an appetizer. Or you can eat them with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and pickled vegetables in dishes like bun cha gio and bun thit nuong.

How do you reheat cha gio?

The best way to reheat cha gio is in a toaster oven or oven. I would highly recommend you don’t use a microwave because the skin does not get crispy. And your egg rolls should be crispy on the outside. My mom usually uses the toaster oven because it warms the inside and keeps it soft while crisping up the outside. An air fryer also works for this purpose.

cha gio

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A plate of cha gio

Get the Recipe:
Authentic Cha Gio (Vietnamese Egg Rolls)

My mom's recipe for authentic cha gio or Vietnamese egg rolls filled with ground pork, wood ear mushrooms, onion, and jicama.
4.98 from 37 ratings

Ingredients
 
 

Equipment

Instructions
 

Making the filling

  • Add the ground pork, shrimp wood ear mushrooms, cellophane noodles, onions, and jicama to a large bowl. Make sure to soak the cellophane noodles to soften them before adding them to the bowl.
  • Separate the yolk from the egg whites. Add the egg yolks to the mixture, and set aside the egg whites in a small bowl.
  • Lastly, add the garlic salt, pepper, granulated sugar, sesame oil, and fish sauce to the mixture. Mix everything together using your hands or a large spoon.

Rolling the egg rolls

  • Take a small piece of the filling and sear it on the stove. Once done cooking, taste it to check for seasoning. If it tastes bland, add more salt.
  • Once you’re satisfied with the filling, you can now start rolling your egg rolls! Take one egg roll wrapper and place it flat on a plate, so it is shaped like a diamond. Fold the bottom corner up about 2/3 up the wrapper (see picture for reference).
  • Place 3 tablespoons of the filling at the bottom of the wrapper. This is the edge of the wrapper closest to you. Pinch the filling it so it is evenly distributed and about 4 inches long. 
  • Fold the left and right edges tightly over the filling, so it now looks like an open envelope. Grab the bottom of the egg roll and begin rolling it tightly.
  • When you get to the end of the egg roll wrapper, dip your finger into the egg whites and wet the top corner of the wrapper. This is the glue that will seal your egg roll.
  • Finish rolling your egg roll. Repeat this process until you run out of egg roll wrappers or filling.

Frying the egg rolls

  • Heat neutral oil to 270 degrees F (132 degrees C). Use enough oil, so it comes 1 inch up the pan or pot you’re using.
  • Fry for ~10 minutes until golden brown on all sides. If the oil doesn’t fully cover your egg rolls, fry for 5 minutes on each side. Make sure to keep the temperature around 270 degrees, so the egg roll fries slowly and your filling cooks through.
  • Place egg rolls on paper towels to soak up excess oil and serve! Eat with fresh herbs or in a vermicelli bowl.

Notes

  1. Roll your egg rolls TIGHTLY – Make sure your egg rolls are as tight as possible. Any small opening will allow oil to seep inside, and your egg roll wrapper will break apart.
  2. Don’t use too much filling and spread it out evenly – The key to getting a uniform shape is to shape your filling evenly! It also helps your egg roll cook all the way through. I usually aim to use 3 tablespoons of filling, spreading it out 4 inches wide and 3/4 of an inch thick. See images above for reference.
  3. How do you make sure your egg rolls fry evenly? – Definitely take your time frying these things. I like to keep my temperature around 270 degrees F so the egg roll cooks through and it is golden brown on all sides.
  4. How do you store egg rolls? – My mom does this a lot. She usually makes a huge batch and fries only some of them. She then puts the rest in a freezer bag to store for later. Every time she wants to make a few, she heats up some oil and throws them in. The egg rolls should keep for ~3 months in the freezer.
  5. How do you eat egg rolls? – Traditionally, you can eat egg rolls 2 ways. You can wrap them in lettuce and some herbs and dip them in nuoc cham. Or you can eat them in a vermicelli bowl with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and pickled vegetables.
  6. How do you reheat cha gio? – The best way to reheat cha gio is in a toaster oven or oven. I would highly recommend you don’t use a microwave because the skin does not get crispy. And your egg rolls should be crispy on the outside. My mom usually uses the toaster oven because it warms the inside and keeps it soft while crisping up the outside. An air fryer also works for this purpose.
Serving: 1egg roll, Calories: 148kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 420mg, Potassium: 111mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 20IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 1mg
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