Vietnamese Spring Rolls Recipe (Bò Bía Recipe)

Bo Bia, ready to be eaten!

What Is Bò Bía?

The name bò bía is likely a Vietnamese adaptation of the Chinese roll “popiah.” These two foods are quite different though. It’s plausible to think bò bía was adapted by the Vietnamese and ingredients were substituted with what was available.

The first noticeable change is the Vietnamese use a rice paper wrapper instead of a wheat-based one. Other changes include the sauce and removal of ingredients like yams, green beans, and bean sprouts. Popiah also has fried variations.

Bò bía is a fresh type of spring roll, packed with vegetables. Despite containing Chinese sausages, these rolls are fairly light, so you can eat a ton of em! Or ya know for easy snacking. They aren’t typically served as full meals, but if you have 3 of them like I just did, you can forget about eating anything else.

Eating Bò Bía Street-side in Vietnam

My mom clearly recalls that in Vietnam, these rolls never had carrots in them for the same reason dồ chua didn’t–it was too expensive. Even though bò bía is designed as portable food, she says most of them were eaten at the stand where they’re made. How fun does that sound?

Since these were simple street snacks, vendors didn’t fuss with any sauce containers. Any on-the-side extras we’re used to Stateside were usually put directly into the roll. When business was slow, these rolls would slightly dry out, so the cart owners would revive rolls by dipping them in the hot water used to steam the veggies. Clever!

Bò Bía Recipe

Start with the dried shrimp since it takes the longest. The typical way to use this is to soak it in water. This takes around 2 hours if you use hot or warm water, or  you can soak overnight to prep for this recipe. We soak it so they’re not super hard to chew.

Next we start peeling and julienning jicama and carrots. I didn’t want carrots to take over in these rolls so I went with about four times as much jicama as carrots. Add salt and water, bring to a boil and then reduce to a low boil for about 15 minutes. We want them to be softened but still retain a slight crunch. Steaming would be a better way to cook these since you can control it better, but I don’t have a steamer.

bo-bia-2

Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs and season with a little salt. Heat a pan and pour a thin layer of the eggs on to cover. We want it thin enough so there is no need to flip the egg. This means you might need to do 2 or more batches. Then roll it up and cut into ribbons.

bo-bia-3

For the Chinese sausage (lạp xưởng), slice at an angle so the pieces are longer and look nicer in the roll. You can also cut it lengthwise but I don’t like the fact that each piece isn’t going to be uniform. Saute on medium heat and flip until lightly browned on both sides. These sausages have a lot of fat that will render, so if you cook it too much they will shrivel. To keep the shape of the sausage you can also bake or boil it (which my mom prefers).

Wash and dry the mint and red leaf lettuce.

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To roll, start with mint, a small piece of lettuce to cover the length. Add jicama and carrot, egg, shrimp, and sausages. I was determined to make a plumper roll so I loaded up on the filling. With this smaller sized rice paper (22 cm), it was harder to roll, but I made it work. If you want to one-up my method, make your rolls about an inch shorter or use larger rice paper.

bo-bia-4

The dipping sauce I used (recipe below) is more concentrated and has crushed peanuts on top.

I used sambal chili paste on top. Just add peanut butter if you like it creamier and adjust the consistency by adding water. Nomnom… that’s a wrap.

bo-bia-horiz2

Can you make Vietnamese spring rolls ahead time?

Yes you can, but fresher is better. The longer the spring rolls sitting the drier the wrapper can get. Some restaurants that cater individually wrap these rolls in plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.

What is a spring roll wrapper made of?

Spring roll wrappers are made of rice flour and water.

How do you roll a Vietnamese spring roll?

A general rule to wrapping spring rolls is to add less filling than you think. Layer your filling ingredients in horizontal lines and add more layers from the bottom up. To roll, wrap up your spring roll similar to a burrito: fold in the left and right sides towards the middle and fold up the bottom flap, and keep rolling in an upwards motion.

Are spring rolls bad for you?

Spring rolls can be considered healthier than fried egg rolls, but it also depends on the fillings you use.

How do you keep Vietnamese spring rolls from sticking?

Use a plate larger than your rice papers and add some warm water to this plate. Dip the rice paper for about five seconds to soften the paper, but remove it before it becomes a soggy mess. I like to use a damp cutting board or towel to place my soften rice paper on, this helps to prevent the paper from sticking too much to the surface and also keep it soft.

Bò Bía - Vietnamese Spring Rolls With Chinese Sausage, Jicama, Carrot, Egg

This makes about 8-10 rolls, depending on size. This recipe easily doubles.
4.58 from 7 votes
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Author: Huy Vu
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 4
Calories / serving: 395kcal

Ingredients

  • 3-4 tbsp dried shrimp
  • 1/2 lb jicama jullienne
  • 1 small carrot juilliend
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 Chinese sausages lạp xưởng - I like the Kam Yen Jan brand
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2-3 leaves of red leaf lettuce
  • 1 package rice paper bánh tráng - I used 22 cm

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp water more or less, to desired thickness
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • crushed peanuts
  • Sambal Oelek chili paste

Instructions

Bò Bía Rolls

  • Soak dried shrimp in warm water for 2 hours, or overnight in the fridge
  • Peel and julienne jicama and carrot, add to pot with 2 tsp salt and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil on high, then reduce to very low boil for about 15 minutes or until soft but slightly crunchy.
  • Whisk eggs to combine. Make a thin omelette in a non-stick pan on medium heat. Split into 2 batches if necessary. Roll up and cut into ribbons.
  • Slice Chinese sausages on an angle (about 45 degrees) and pan-fry on medium until cooked through (but not burned or shriveled)
  • Wash and prep the vegetables.
  • Dip rice paper into a plate of warm water for about four seconds to soften. It will soften more after you remove it from the water.
  • Assemble ingredients (as shown above) with a little bit of each ingredient.

Dipping Sauce

  • Heat minced garlic in a pan with oil until it starts to brown
  • Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix hoisin sauce, water, and sugar
  • When garlic is ready, pour the hoisin mixture into the pan and heat just until just boiling. Remove from pan, top with crushed peanuts and chili paste

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Serving: 0g | Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 270mg | Sodium: 2295mg | Potassium: 400mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3367IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: rolls
I'd love to see what you cook up!Mention @HungryHuy or tag #hungryhuy to notify me
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15 thoughts on “Vietnamese Spring Rolls Recipe (Bò Bía Recipe)

  1. Julia | JuliasAlbum.com says:

    Love the stories behind the food, traditions about using (or not using) certain ingredients, cultural background of food. Always learning something new.

    1. Huy says:

      Hey Julia! Learning that kinda stuff is something I pretty much need to do. It’s fun and really makes me see food differently.

  2. Lan | angry asian says:

    would you believe, my significant other doesn’t like lạp xưởng? this isn’t something we ate much of, i’m not adverse to it as i do like it, but it’s just not something that i even think of to order to eat.

    1. Huy says:

      Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever ordered this at a restaurant. It’s always been something we cook at home.

  3. Mai says:

    Thank you for this recipe. I couldn’t find my moms’s so I used this as a guide. Very yummy!!!

    1. Huy says:

      Mom always knows best, right? 🙂

  4. lan Nguyen says:

    3 stars
    What’s anatto seeds,the ones that give the color to BBH ( what ‘s the Vietnamese name ?

    1. Huy says:

      Spot on! In Vietnamese they’re called hat dieu.

  5. Geez says:

    5 stars
    Loved it how you used photos showing the “how”. A picture means a thousand words

  6. Denny says:

    4 stars
    Delicious!!!! Thanks.

  7. Trang says:

    5 stars
    Hi Huy,
    Thank you for a amazing recepie.
    I just wonder if there is any other complement to replace the Jicama? There is no Jicama to buy at the supermarket where I live.

  8. Melanie says:

    5 stars
    Love your recipes and photos-just beautiful! You say you have no steamer, but a heat safe dish or bowl over a sheet of aluminum foil, rolled into a rope and shaped into a circle, in a larger pot with a little water, covered, makes a steamer. As does a pot with an improvised rack composed of chopsticks, or cutlery, or just look around the kitchen. You’ll come up with lots of possibilities. The thickness of the cut and the density of the veg determines the timing, but most veggies require 4 min. to be fully cooked, 2 min for crisp and tender julienned.

  9. M says:

    5 stars
    I varied the recipe based on what I had on hand (carrots, green onion-don’t slice, chop finely, mint, cilantro, red beets, red bell pepper, persian cucumber). I added salmon to some but not others. They were very good. I will try with egg and jicama next time. I made the hoisin sauce from scratch, since I didn’t have any on hand. It was very easy and was delicious! Thank you for sharing and I will be trying more of your recipes in the future!

  10. Hang says:

    5 stars
    Hey, Huy. Are you planning on doing the fish version of this? I’ve seen people grill or bake fish (I think they had the scallion in oil and peanuts to their fish) and wrap it up. Would love to see you do that with proper dipping sauce. 🙂 Or maybe just other versions of spring rolls. It’s all great food!

    1. Huy Vu says:

      Love the idea Hang, I def will try it 🙂

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