When most people think about Chinese food, the first thing that comes to mind is egg rolls. But do they eat egg rolls in China?
The answer is no! People do not eat egg rolls in China because they are not traditional Chinese cuisine. They are American Chinese cuisine and are often seen as distinctly American food.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the cuisine of China and also explore some differences between Chinese and Americanized Chinese food. Read on to find out!
Do They Eat Egg Rolls in China?
The answer is NO.
While many variations of Chinese cuisine worldwide, egg rolls are not commonly found in China. They are a product of American-Chinese culture and have become iconic symbols of the culinary traditions of this group of immigrants.
American Chinese Cuisine
You might be surprised to learn that egg rolls are not Chinese food and are not commonly found in China. They are often seen as distinctly American food, a product of the Chinese diaspora.
That’s right, those delicious little cylinders of goodness that we all know and love were created by American-Chinese immigrants in the early 20th century.
As waves of Chinese immigrants came to America in the early 20th century, they had to adapt their cuisine to local tastes. Americanized Chinese food was created as a result of this.
So, how did this happen? Let’s take a look.
Chinese Americans created egg rolls in the early 1900s to make Chinese food more palatable to American tastes. At that time, most Americans were unfamiliar with traditional Chinese cuisine, so the egg roll was designed to be a more familiar and approachable option.
It quickly became a hit with American diners and has been a staple of Chinese-American restaurants ever since.
About Egg Rolls
What Is It?
The egg roll is a deep-fried cylinder of dough that is filled with various vegetables and meat.
The most common ingredients are cabbage, pork, onions, carrots, garlic, ginger, and green onions. However, there are endless possibilities when it comes to fillings.
Other popular options include shrimp, beef, chicken, mushrooms, and bean sprouts.
They have a savory taste and can be either sweet or spicy, depending on the ingredients used. The wrapper is usually thin and crispy, while the filling is moist and flavorful.
The making process is reasonably straightforward.
- First, the wrapper is made by mixing flour, water, salt, and baking soda. You can also buy pre-made wrappers, making this step much more manageable.
- Then, the filling is prepared using chopped meats, vegetables, and seasonings.
- Once the filling is cooked, it is placed inside the wrapper and rolled up into a cylinder.
- Finally, deep fry it until it is golden brown.
Other American Chinese Cuisine Not Found in China
There are many other Americanized Chinese dishes that you won’t find in China.
For many Chinese Americans born in the US, these are some of their favorite comfort foods. However, they are not found in traditional Chinese cuisine and can only be found in Americanized versions of Chinese food.
American Chinese Cuisine:
- Chow mein – stir-fried noodles
- Fried rice – cooked rice with vegetables and meat
- Egg foo young – a mixture of eggs, meat, and vegetables that is fried into patties or omelets
- Sweet and sour dishes – a variety of sweet and tangy fried or cooked dishes, often made with pineapple
- Moo shu dishes – stir-fried meat served with pancakes or flour tortillas, typically topped with spring onions and hoisin sauce.
- Almond chicken – battered chicken fried and covered in a sweet, sticky sauce
- Fortune cookie – a small, crispy cookie containing a piece of paper with a prediction or advice.
- Crab rangoon – fried wontons filled with cream cheese and crabmeat.
- And many more.
How do you properly store egg rolls?
To properly store, they should be placed in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Can you freeze egg rolls?
Yes, they can be frozen by placing them in a freezer-safe container or bag and storing them in the freezer for up to three months. It is important to thaw them completely before reheating them.
What is the best way to reheat egg rolls?
The best way to reheat them is to place them on a baking sheet and heat them in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10-12 minutes until they are crispy and heated.
Alternatively, they can be reheated in a skillet over medium heat with a bit of oil for about 5 minutes on each side.
Can you make homemade egg rolls?
It is possible to make homemade wrappers using a combination of flour, salt, water, and vegetable shortening. The filling can also be customized based on personal preference.
What are some potential filling options for egg rolls?
Some potential filling options include shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix, sliced carrots, diced onions or shallots, minced garlic, ground meat such as pork or chicken, and chopped green onions or cilantro.
Is it necessary to fry egg rolls?
Frying is a traditional cooking method that helps give them a crispy exterior, but it is unnecessary. They can also be baked in the oven at a high temperature until crisp and golden brown.
Can you make vegetarian or vegan versions of egg rolls?
Yes, vegetarian or vegan versions can be made by omitting any meat filling and using plant-based protein sources such as tofu or tempeh, along with vegetables like mushrooms, bok choy, bell peppers, and shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix.
Additionally, a non-dairy alternative such as coconut oil can be used for frying instead of traditional vegetable oil.