The classic Filipino Lumpia Shanghai- Egg Rolls with Ground Pork and Sweet-Sour Sauce are those crisp, bite-sized rolls with a pork filling mixed in scallions, shrimps, carrots and more. Once you get your hands on a bunch, do not hesitate to dip them in the accompanying sweet sour sauce. Cherish the crunch in each bite, enjoy the punch of the Asian seasonings. This is a classic dish in every Filipino home. It’s probably one of the most recognizable Filipino dishes anywhere in the world.
Chinese influences in Filipino cuisine were apparent long before the Spaniards colonized the Philippines in the 16th century. Next to the “pancit” noodles, the “lumpia” (say ‘ loom-pyah’), the meat-filled spring roll is one of the most popular contributions of the Chinese to our Filipino menu. Typically, Filipinos call it ‘Lumpia Shanghai’, although there is no such item in Shanghai, the city ( as described in the book “Pinoy Umami, The Heart of Philippine Cuisine”).
I brought a platter of this crackling egg rolls to a neighborhood party here in suburban New Jersey, and within ten minutes of my arrival, they were gone. This always happens every time I bring these little Lumpia Shanghai egg rolls to any event.
“Are you Filipino? Do you make those crisp little egg rolls? Those are so good!” These are questions and exclamation of praise I often get when I meet fans of Filipino food here in America. Next to the classic Filipino adobo, the Lumpia Shanghai elicits so much excitement when I put it on the table. It is not hard to make. Plan a day to make it all in a large batch. When my kids were growing up, I used to commission their help rolling up these egg rolls. Cooking is a family thing we do together. These egg rolls are no exception.
Make a batch and freeze it. Then pan fry a couple of egg rolls any day. They cook fast. As they sizzle, the delightful aromas of the pork combined with sesame oil, rice wine and Asian seasonings will draw everyone to the dining room. Serve these tiny crisp treats paired with sweet sour sauce, and an abundant serving of boiled jasmine rice. Or serve a plate of Filipino Pancit Canton alongside. It is a mouthwatering feast anytime.
For a vegetable option, try these crisp Vegetable Lumpia, egg rolls filled with bean sprouts, potatoes and veggies in a spicy vinegar dipping sauce. Need I tell you they’re just as divine?
Lumpia Shanghai- Egg Rolls with Ground Pork and Sweet-Sour Sauce
- 1 package egg roll wrappers around 24 pieces, thawed at room temperature
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/2 pound fresh shrimps chopped fine
- 2 stalks scallions chopped
- 2 cloves garlic peeled, minced
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Xiao Xing rice wine
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper powder
- 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 whole onion chopped fine, for sweet sour sauce
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger for sauce fresh
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 1 whole bird's eye chili chopped
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 Tablespoons water for the cornstarch mixture
- 1 whole egg beaten, combined with 1-2 Tablespoons water, for egg wash
- for serving: steamed rice
- 2 cups vegetable oil use 1/2 cup at a time for deep frying
- Prepare the filling by combining in a large bowl the ingredients : Ground pork, scallions, garlic, carrots, soy sauce, eggs, flour, rice wine, salt, pepper, sesame oil. Blend and incorporate the ingredients well. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to an hour, for easier handling.
- Thaw the egg roll wrappers at room temperature. Place them on a dry surface. They should still be cold, and not handled in an environment that’s too hot. I’ve found the wrappers melted and got pudgy,were difficult to separate from the rest, when left too long at room temperature.
- Place one egg roll wrapper on a flat, clean and dry surface. Take a level tablespoon of ground pork filling and place it lengthwise, shaped like a long stick in the middle of the egg roll wrapper.
- Roll the meat-filled wrapper, starting with the edge closest to you. Roll it away from you, shaped like a thin cigar. Tuck in the left and right edges, and keep rolling. Seal the edges with egg wash.
- Make several egg rolls and keep them in plastic freezer bags with resealable tops. Portion the egg rolls in bags according to how many your family consumes in a meal. This makes it easier for you to thaw the egg rolls during weeknights for quick meals. For eg., for 2 to 4 servings I place 8 to 10 uncooked egg rolls in a plastic bag in the freezer, and repeat according to how many meals we plan to have it.
- To cook the egg rolls: In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add half a cup of vegetable oil. Make sure oil temperature is hot enough, but not burning. If the oil is not hot enough, the egg rolls will NOT be crisp. (Tip: Heat the oil until it reaches 350 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer.*)
- Deep fry the egg rolls a few at a time. Try 6 to 8 pieces in a large 10-inch skillet. Do not overcrowd the egg rolls or they will not be crisp. For this quantity in a skillet, it will take 2 to 3 minutes for the egg rolls to fry evenly. Use tongs to move them around the skillet. Turn them around every 50 seconds to 1 minute.
- When cooked, drain the egg rolls on paper towels or parchment paper to remove excess oil. This also will maintain the crispness in the egg rolls. Cut the 8 inch egg rolls in half with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors, for tinier servings.
- Continue to deep fry the next batch of egg rolls. If needed, add a little more cooking oil, for a total of ½ cup at a time. Maintain the correct high heat of the cooking oil to get the desired crispness from the egg rolls.
- To cook the Pineapple Sweet Sour Sauce : Combine the ingredients in a medium saucepan – onion, fresh ginger, rice vinegar, pineapple juice, birdseye chile, sugar, salt. Bring to a simmer in the saucepan for about 5 minutes. Separately stir the cornstarch dissolved in water till there are no lumps. Slowly add this cornstarch-water mixture to the pineapple-vinegar sauce simmering. Simmer until the sauce coats the back of the spoon, in about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Serve with the freshly pan fried Lumpia Shanghai. Cooking tip: this sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated. Make sure it is room temperature or reheated before serving.
- Cook's comments: Some Filipino lumpia recipes use a combination of ground pork and beef. The Asian ingredients used in this recipe like the egg roll or lumpia wrappers, soy sauce, rice wine, rice vinegar, sesame oil, jasmine rice are available in Asian markets or large supermarkets. If frozen, uncooked Lumpia Shanghai will last upto a month, kept in plastic ziploc bags.
- Acknowledgements: Pineapple-Sweet Sour Sauce recipe adapted from “Memories of Philippine Kitchens” by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan. My Lumpia Shanghai recipe is adapted from several sources and my mom’s old recipes. *Thanks to “The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook” by Patricia Tanumihardja and to “The Philippine Cookbook” by Reynaldo Alejandro. Reference for Chinese influences in Filipino cooking from “Pinoy Umami, The Heart of Philippine Cuisine" book concept by Nonna Nanagas.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe?I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]