Bò Bía Rolls are a real gem in the realm of Vietnamese dishes with rice paper. These Chinese Sausage Spring Rolls offer a wonderful symphony of lightness, flavors, and textures.
🙋♀️ What is Bò Bía?
Originating from the Fujianese/Teochew culture’s Popiah, Bò Bía experienced adaptations upon reaching Vietnam. Instead of wheat-based wrappers, rice papers became the choice, and alongside traditional fillings like carrot and jicama, Chinese sausages (lap cheong or lạp xưởng) were incorporated.
In Vietnam, this savory version is called Bò Bía Mặn , distinguishing it from the sweet variant, Bò Bía Ngọt . Bò Bía Ngọt features coconut meat, black sesame, and sugar sticks encased in wheat-based wrappers.
If you are a fan of Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls, you could also try:
🌟 Gỏi Cuốn Spring Rolls vs. Bò Bía Spring Rolls
Both are well-loved street foods in Saigon and are frequently found being sold together at the same food stalls. Nevertheless, there are distinctions between Gỏi Cuốn and Bò Bía:
- Gỏi Cuốn has shrimp, pork, lettuce, and herbs as fillings, while Bò Bía has cooked jicama, carrot, Chinese sausages, egg omelet ribbons, and herbs.
- Gỏi Cuốn can be served with both nước chấm (Vietnamese dipping fish sauce) and peanut hoisin sauce, while Bò Bía is typically accompanied by peanut hoisin sauce alone.
- Moreover, Bò Bía rolls tend to be smaller than Gỏi Cuốn rolls.
Rice papers: particularly the ones for fresh spring rolls (Gỏi Cuốn)
Jicama: a signature ingredient in Bò Bía (and the original Popiah). If unavailable, Daikon or Kohlrabi can be used as substitutes.
Carrot: another key ingredient in the filling.
Dried shrimps: in Vietnam, tiny shrimp crisps (tép khô sấy) are commonly used, already dehydrated until crispy and seasoned to taste.
Alternatively, you can use regular dried shrimps (tôm khô), but you need to soak them in water for several hours. After soaking, chop and stir-fry them in a little cooking oil.
Eggs: egg omelet adds more protein and enhance the texture.
Chinese sausages (lap cheong or lạp xưởng)
Thai basil and mint: Thai basil and mint are two of the most popular Vietnamese herbs. They add freshness and a minty flavor to the spring rolls. You could use just only mint and use Italian basil instead of Thai basil.
🌟 Dipping Sauce for Bò Bía
So no fish sauce in this case!!
📝 Prepare The Fillings
- Prepare the dried shrimps. If you use the seasoned tiny shrimp crisps like me, you could skip this step. First, soak the shrimps in water for at least 2 hours. Chop into small pieces and stir-fry with a bit cooking oil until fully cooked.
- First, soak the shrimps in water for at least 2 hours.
- Chop into small pieces and stir-fry with a bit cooking oil until fully cooked.
- Peel and julienne the veggies.
- Cook the veggies. While many people prefer blanching the vegetables, I find that stir-frying with a bit of oil preserves their flavors better.
- Heat a pan and add 1 tbsp oil. Stir-fry the jicama (or kohlrabi or daikon) first, as it takes longer to cook. After a few minutes, add the carrots and continue stir-frying.
- Pour about 2 tbsp water and cover the pan with a lid. This will allow the vegetables to cook with the help of steam without losing their flavors. Season with 1/2 tsp salt. Don’t overcook the vegetables. They should retain a slight crunchy texture.
- Steam-fry the Chinese Sausages (Lạp Xưởng). The traditional Vietnamese method of cooking Chinese sausages is steam-frying (not frying, boiling, or baking). Chinese sausages already have a high-fat content. With steam-frying method, sausages are fully cooked with water steam, then their rendered fat fries them to perfection.
- To begin, place the Chinese sausages in a pan and add some water (coconut water works best) to half the height of the sausages. Simmer the sausages in the water over medium heat and rotate them in the boiling water.
- Once the water has completely evaporated, the sausages will be fully cooked. At this stage, the fat from the sausages will begin to render. Now, reduce the heat and continue frying the sausages with their own fat until the skin turns crispy and develops a rich flavor.
- Finally, slice the Chinese sausages at an angle into thin pieces and set them aside.
- Prepare the eggs.
- Whisk together the eggs with a little salt and black pepper. Optionally, you can dilute 1 tsp cornstarch with 2 tbsp water and add it to the egg mixture. This addition of cornstarch helps create a thin and pliable fried egg omelet.
- Preheat a non-stick pan over low-medium heat with ½ tbsp oil. Pour just enough egg create a thin crepe and cook for about 2 minutes until it is set.
- Remove the crepe from the pan and repeat the process with remaining egg. Once done, stack the egg crepes together and roll them. Slice the rolled eggs into ribbons.
- Quickly dip one rice paper into water, shaking off any excess water. Only soak the rice paper for about 5 seconds.
- Lay the rice paper onto a large plate, ensuring the smooth side is facing down and the rough side faces up. Place jicama (kohlrabi, or daikon) and carrot on the bottom third of the rice paper, followed by the fried egg strips.
- Place the Chinese sausages onto the opposite end of the rice paper, making them more visible and appetizing. Add a sprinkle of dried shrimps and some herbs also.
- Roll the rice paper up tightly to enclose the filling. Remember to push in veggies across the entire roll to maintain an even tightness throughout the roll.
- Repeat these steps until all the ingredients have been used up.
- Enjoy Bò Bía spring rolls with Vietnamese Hoisin Peanut Sauce and a drizzle of Sate chili oil for an extra kick of flavor.
🌟 Helpful Tips
- For storing Bò Bía Rolls, individually wrap them in food wrap to avoid drying out.
- I also wrote a post about how to choose and handle Vietnamese rice papers like a Vietnamese, in case you find yourself struggling with wrapping Vietnamese fried spring rolls or fresh spring rolls.
- Avoid overfilling the rolls to make rolling easier. Maybe it would take you 2-3 first rolls for practice.
Explore more Vietnamese Streetfood
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Bò Bía – Chinese Sausage Spring Rolls
- non-stick pan
- Julienne peeler
Bò Bía Spring Rolls
- 1 pound jicama (500g) (or daikon, kohlrabi)
- ½ pound carrot (220g) (about one medium-sized carrot)
- 2 links Chinese sausages
- 3 oz Dried shrimps (85g) (or tiny shrimp crips)
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- Rice papers (the ones for making Gỏi Cuốn)
- Herbs (Thai basil, mint) (leaves only)
- Black pepper
- Cooking oil
- 3 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
- ½ tbsp Peanut Butter
- 3 tbsp Coconut Milk (optional)
- 3 tbsp Water
- ½ tbsp Soy Sauce
- ⅛ tsp Sugar
- ⅛ tsp Rice Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Minced garlic
- 1 tbsp Cooking oil
- Vietnamese Sate
Make Hoisin – Peanut Sauce
- Heat cooking oil, sauté garlic. Mix hoisin sauce, peanut butter, coconut milk, and water. Simmer briefly. Add sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar. Adjust flavor as needed.
Prepare the fillings
- Soak the dried shrimps in water for 2 hours. Then, chop into smaller pieces and stir-fry with some cooking oil. Skip this step if you use tiny shrimp crips (tép khô sấy).
- Peel and julienne jicama, and carrots. Sauté the vegetables with a little water and season with 1/2 tsp salt until they are cooked but still retain a slight crunch.
- Steam-fry Chinese sausages. Slice Chinese sausages on an angle (about 45 degrees).
- Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt, pepper, and optionally diluted cornstarch. Make a thin omelette crepe in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Roll it up and slice into ribbons.
- Dip the rice paper in water for 5 seconds. Lay it on a place with the smooth side facing down. Add jicama (kohlrabi, or daikon) and carrot to the bottom third of the rice paper, then top with fried egg strips.
- Place the Chinese sausages at the opposite end of the rice paper. Sprinkle dried shrimps on the centre of the rice paper with some herbs.
- Roll the rice paper tightly to seal the filling, and be sure to evenly push in the veggies throughout the roll for a consistent tightness.