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A Taste of Vietnam - Nem Ran (Vietnamese Spring Rolls)

VIETNAM | Thursday, 21 April 2011 | Views [7436] | Comments [2]

On a recent trip to Vietnam my unintentional travel buddy was plates and plates of delectable nem ran. 

Four hours of trekking in Sapa, nem ran for lunch. Another four hours, nem ran for dinner. I loved it. The light and flaky rice paper filled with minced pork and bean sprouts was perfect snacking food while nursing bleeding heels in local’s homes.

Nem ran is the Northern Vietnamese version of a spring roll and can be found at most street stalls and restaurants. I found the street stalls didn’t compare to the homemade offerings I experienced while staying with locals.

See below for my attempt at a recreation, with practice maybe one day you’ll trek to my house for a taste!


  • 30g (1/2 cup) wood-ear fungus (from Vietnamese groceries)
  • 700g pork mince
  • 10 green shallots, ends trimmed, finely chopped
  • 1 x 50g pkt vermicelli noodles, cut into 2cm lengths
  • 2 handfuls of bean sprouts
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 x 375g pkt 18cm-diameter round rice-paper sheets (banh trang)
  • Vegetable oil, to deep fry


1. Place the wood-ear fungus in a heatproof bowl. Cover with warm water and set aside for 30 minutes to soak. Drain and finely chop.

2. Combine the chopped fungus, pork, green shallots, noodles, bean sprouts, eggs, pepper, salt, chicken stock powder and sugar in a large bowl.

3. Fill a bowl with warm water. Dip 1 sheet of rice paper in the water for 10-15 seconds or until it begins to soften.

4. Drain and top with 1 tbs of filling. Fold in the sides and roll up firmly to enclose the filling. Repeat with the remaining rice-paper sheets and filling.

5. Add enough oil to a large saucepan or deep frying pan to reach a depth of 6cm and heat over medium heat.

6. Add one-third of the spring rolls and deep-fry for 10 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.

7. Repeat in 2 more batches with remaining spring rolls, reheating clean oil between batches. Cut each spring roll into 3 equal pieces.

Dipping sauce

Ingredients - fish sauce, lime, garlic, sugar, small red and green chillies and water.

Mince the garlic and chillies. Add the sugar into a bowl of hot water to help dissolve it quickly. Add fish sauce, lime, and the minced garlic and peppers into the sugar water.

Recipe courtesy of Kate Hoffman, our resident foodie at World Nomads.

Related Articles:

Do's and Don't's When Travelling in Vietnam

A Taste of China - Simple Wontons (Chinese Dumplings)

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Tags: adventures, connect locally, cuisine, experiences, food, nem ran recipes, southeast asia, spring rolls, travel, vietnam



I'm taking my family to Vietnam in 2016. AlthoughI have been in the past & know some places to go & things to see. I would like to hire a driver for some days. Also interested in staying with host families. We all love eating & cooking. Any local restaurants,cooking schools or any off the grid info appreciated.

  Kathy Dec 28, 2015 8:26 AM


I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.
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  asda May 26, 2018 4:26 PM

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