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Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

An urban myth that I’ve been told a few times says that Sherpas guiding Mt Everest are known to carry eggs up to the high camps, producing them whole, raw and unbroken for their clients’ breakfast while camped high on the mountain. It seems a bit improbable, if only because not many people could stomach a fry-up breakfast at 7000m. However, factual or not, the idea seems to have a parallel in Kiwi tramping culture.

Go into any hut a few day’s hike from civilisation and you’ll often see a bit of one-upmanship between trampers as to who can produce the most improbable and delicate delicacy. This recipe is in that vein; it takes a bit of careful handling, but will certainly turn a few heads when you produce fresh spring rolls four days into the wilderness.


Serves: light meal for four people
Weight: 1035g
Volume: 1.9L
Calories: 2725
Cost: $15
Cooking time: 8min
Fuel: 60ml white spirit, or 25g camping gas*

*Based on an MSR Whisperlite burning white spirit at sea level.

Special Utensils

  • Chopping board, or something flat to attach the rice paper to in order to prevent it shattering in your pack.
  • A biggish dish to dunk the rice paper in – a pot lid is ideal.


  • 250g rice paper sheets (16cm diameter)
  • 250g vermicelli noodles
  • 2 carrots, finely sliced
  • 500g dehydrated minced beef
  • 2 tbsp dehydrated onions
  • 1 x Avocado (buy one that’s rock solid when you leave)
  • Mint and Coriander – fresh if possible
  • Sweet chilli sauce
  • Chinese five spice powder
  • 50ml olive oil


Rehydrate the mince and onions, then fry with a little Chinese five spice (to taste) and set aside. Dunk the vermicelli noodles in boiling water for two minutes, drain and also set aside.

Fill a shallow dish (or pot lid) with warm water and dunk the rice paper for about 30-seconds, or until it’s soft then lay it out on the chopping board.

To make the rolls, arrange a small amount of the prepped ingredients on the edge of the paper closest to you and then roll it forwards once, to create an open-ended tube. Next fold the ends of the tube over then roll forwards again to create a neat little parcel. Serve immediately, with the sweet chilli sauce in a small bowl for dipping.