Vietnamese Summer Rolls (Goi Cuon)

A delicious Vietnamese salad roll that cools you down! Makes for a great appetizer or main dish! Make for your next party!

Photo by RODNAE Productions on

Summer rolls or Goi Cuon are a favored dish in Vietnam. They originated in China, but after Chinese immigrants introduced the concept to Vietnam the recipe was tailored to Vietnamese ingredients and flavors. Goi Cuon consists of poached pork and shrimp, mint, vegetables, and are rolled up in rice paper. Then they are dipped in sauce. The rolls are served cool or at room temperature.

I remember when I was a little kid and I would wrap Goi Cuon with my father. We would prepare big platters of rolls for parties or make a plateful of them for our family to eat. It made me feel closer to my culture and my family, because I knew that these wrapping skills were being passed down to my generation from prior generations. Most of my cousins wrapped Goi Cuon for parties when they were young too. As tedious as the task was, my cousins and I understood that we were gaining these skills to pass to our children and to keep traditions alive. Our parents (my father and his siblings) had learned from our grandmother. Apparently she was a wonderful cook. I never knew her, but I feel closer to her whenever I make food like Goi Cuon. Sometimes if I am preparing and wrapping Goi Cuon for parties with my father and my cousins, they will tell me a little about my grandmother and how her cooking brought people together. I hope you find joy in this recipe and continue to keep family traditions alive!

Vietnamese Summer Rolls (Goi Cuon)

Yields 8 rolls (4 appetizer servings or 2 main dish servings)

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 33 minutes

Active Time 20 minutes


1/2 pound pork shoulder or pork bottom

12 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 ounces rice vermicelli noodles, cooked

1/2 cup mint leaves

1/2 head of lettuce, leaves separated

8 dried rice papers (12 inches)

To serve: Hoisin sauce and crushed peanuts


Boil a pot of water and place pork inside. Cook pork for about 30 minutes, until firm.

Boil the shrimp for 2-3 minutes until pink.

Place pork and shrimp in bowls of cold ice water to make them cool enough to handle.

Cut pork into thin 1 1/2 to 2 inch slices. Set aside.

Cut shrimp in half lengthwise. Set aside.

For the salad rolling station line a plate with a damp towel. Fill a large bowl with hot water for rice papers. Also have boiling water handy. Place ingredients in order for rolls: shrimp, pork, rice vermicelli, mint, lettuce.

To Wrap: Quickly dip rice paper into hot water and turn it to wet completely, about 10 seconds. Place on wet paper towel-lined plate.

Line bottom third of the rice paper with 3 shrimp halves. Place 2 pork pieces on shrimp. Add 1 spoonful of rice vermicelli on top. Line 4 mint leaves over rice vermicelli. Add a leaf of lettuce.

Lift bottom edge of rice paper over the filling ingredients. Fold in the two sides. Roll up until it forms a cylinder that is 4-5 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide.

Repeat with remaining filling and rice papers.

Cut rolls in half, crosswise.

To Serve: Dip rolls in Hoisin sauce and crushed peanuts.

Vegetarian/Vegan variation: Substitute shrimp with mushrooms and pork with tofu, adjust cooking times accordingly. Still tastes great!


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