Bean sprouts, which are often included in cha gio.
Cha gio (pronounced “chai yaw”) are often called egg rolls. A traditional Vietnamese dish enjoyed in restaurants and more often in Vietnamese homes, it is crispy and crunchy. While many people compare the cha gio to an eggroll, there are actually few similarities. Both are filled in a casing and both are cylindrical. However, eggrolls are typically larger in size and known to be healthy snacks. Gio tea is light and crunchy, typically smaller in size or cut into small pieces, and served as a main course or appetizer.
Shiitake mushrooms are a common ingredient in cha gio.
The stuffing in cha gio is usually made with a mixture of ground pork and crab. Shredded carrots, minced garlic, fish sauce, chopped onion, cellophane noodles, and sliced mushrooms are also added. The filling is placed in rice paper wrappers, rolled up, fried in hot oil and served immediately.
As an appetizer, cha gio is usually cut into small pieces and served with nuoc mam – a Vietnamese sauce made from fish sauce, sugar, carrots, garlic, pepper and lemon juice.
Gio tea contains minced garlic.
As a main course, cha gio can be served whole, accompanied by fresh vegetable dishes such as Boston lettuce leaves, cucumber slices, bean sprouts, and cold vermicelli noodles. To eat cha gio this way, a lettuce leaf is used as a cup to contain small amounts of the accompanying noodles and vegetables. A roll is placed in the center and the lettuce leaf is tightly wrapped around the contents.
Gio tea is another name for spring rolls.
Gio tea is also featured in cold noodle dishes such as tea bread. This is cooked vermicelli noodles that have been rinsed cold and topped with a variety of fresh herbs and vegetables. The cha gio is chopped into pieces and served with the noodles. Chopped peanuts often garnish the dish and nuoc mam is often served as a sauce.
Gio tea is a popular dish enjoyed throughout the year in Vietnam, especially during holidays. In celebration of Tet, the Lunar New Year, Vietnamese families band together to make piles and piles of cha gio.
Vietnamese cha gio typically uses lighter packaging than Chinese egg rolls.
Since gio tea can be a lot of work, it’s good to know that they can also be frozen. If you’re going to make cha gio at home, you can make a lot of it to eat in the future. Fry the cha gio for a minute or two, place it in an airtight container and freeze. If frozen properly, cha gio can be kept in the freezer for several weeks. When ready to use, simply allow the cha gio to reach room temperature and remove excess moisture. Finish frying the cha gio again and serve immediately.