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I'm Dutch and in here we call spring rolls "loempia's". Probably due to our history with Indonesia. They look like this 99% of the time.

enter image description here

Recently I went to France and they call them "nems" there the spring rolls looked like this. Probably due to their history with Vietnam.

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Some differences I noticed were that the skins were more crisp and less smooth than "ours". Also the filling was quite different, more meaty. I prefer the once I ate in France a lot more, so I'd like to know how to make them myself.

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    I mean, if the filling is "more meaty", the secret is probably "more meat". Are you asking for a recipe for Vietnamese spring rolls which resemble that photo? Or do you have a particular recipe for lumpia which you'd like to adjust to be more like Vietnamese spring rolls in certain respects?
    – Sneftel
    Apr 11, 2023 at 8:52
  • @Sneftel Well the question is especially aimed towards the skin, but that might not be clear.
    – Thomas
    Apr 11, 2023 at 9:07
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    You know those top ones come straight from a huge bag of frozen ones & drop straight in the deep fryer? The bottom ones show at least hints of being hand made. Very similar with possibly slightly different filling [though it looks the same from what I can see in the pic] my local Chinese take-away does frozen ones just like that if you ask for 'spring rolls', served in 5's, but if you ask for a 'pancake roll' you get just one huge, burrito-sized home-made one, a hundred times better [still deep-fried, but made of 'food' not 'supermarket' ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 11, 2023 at 12:13
  • @Tetsujin No the top ones are also sold at speciality stalls. If it were that easy I wouldn't ask.
    – Thomas
    Apr 11, 2023 at 14:29
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    You said that this is a country-specific difference, so a good strategy is to search for french recipes. "recette nems" turns up a lot of results, including ones that have video instructions, ones that claim to be very traditional, ones that claim to be extra crispy, etc.
    – rumtscho
    Apr 12, 2023 at 20:48

2 Answers 2

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The first picture looks like spring rolls made with wheat flour-based wrappers and deep fried. The filling also appears to contain a large proportion of cabbage and carrots. The second picture looks like they were made with rice-based wrappers and also deep fried, probably cha gio. The filling for these usually has bean thread noodles with a relatively larger proportion of meat (usually pork). Careful - in my experience, the rice-based wrappers have a tendency to trap steam and explode when deep frying.

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  • I just googled for "nems" recipes and came up with a bunch using rice paper, and "loempia" recipes mostly call for spring roll wrappers (made with wheat). I think this is the most probable difference.
    – Esther
    Apr 18, 2023 at 14:07
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Purely speculating here, but, having had a few Loempias, I think the skin is baked on many dutch ones (or, perhaps, the country's beloved air fryers strike again!)

The french ones look fried, and, possibly, using a thinner pastry, however, very hard to tell from the picture.

Got some suggestions though:

  1. Try frying rather than baking or air frying. Possibly even shallow rather than deep frying, which would flake the pastry off.
  2. One of these may be made using filo, rather than rice flour based wrappers. I'm guessing the dutch ones, as I think the rice wrappers tend to be thinner and flakier
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    Most Loempia;s are deep fried in the Netherlands, at least those bought ready to eat.
    – Willeke
    Apr 11, 2023 at 9:31

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