Hoi An Spring Rolls (Nem Choun Hoi An)

  • Appetiser

  • Vietnamese

  • Seafood

You can pre-prepare the mackerel for this dish. Once cooked, the fish will keep in the fridge for up to one week. The pickled cabbage also works well alongside grilled and fried meats.


  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 red Asian shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 1 tsp Five Spice
  • 2 x 300g mackerel or other oily fish

Spring rolls

  • 24 rice paper wrappers
  • 1 small iceberg lettuce or other crisp green lettuce, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pickled cabbage
  • 1/2 handful coriander sprigs
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds, dry roasted
  • Nuoc cham to serve


Combine soy, water, sugar, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chilli and Five Spice. Marinate the fish in mixture for 30 minutes.

Transfer the fish and marinade into a flat-based frying pan. Place on a slow heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and braise the fish in the liquid for 15 minutes. Remove from stove and let the fish cool before taking it out of the pan.

Remove and flake all the flesh and discard the head and bones.

Dip a rice paper in warm water for 1 second. Do not soak the wrapper as it will become too soft and tear when rolled. Place the wrapper on a flat surface. Wait for 20 seconds, wiping any excess water with a clean cloth.

In a straight line along the bottom third, place the lettuce, pickled cabbage, mackerel, and coriander and sesame seeds. Bring the bottom of the wrapper up over the filling, fold in the sides and then roll-up. Set aside, seam side down while you prepare the remaining spring rolls.

Serve with classic fish dipping sauce.

Note: this recipe was demonstrated in Tracey’s class 'Flavours of Central Vietnam', June 2017. It is reproduced with permission from Tracey Lister.

Image is indicative only and does not reflect the exact ingredients in this recipe.

Brought to you by
Tracey Lister, chef, author and culinary tour host