Thursday, November 8, 2007

We Go to Dinner with the Ingredients We Have, Not the Ingredients We Want

The local Asian market is more like a Korean market than a Filipino market. This would not matter so much if I was looking for, say, rice, or fish sauce. But I was looking for lumpia wrappers. This, they did not have. They did, however, have egg roll wrappers. It's not the same, but the only real Filipino market is an hour away, so it would have to do.

I made some filling - ground beef with onions, garlic, corn - but lacking some of the usual vegetables that normally go in, such as green beans, I went with what I had in the freezer: frozen chopped spinach. I don't ever remember having spinach in lumpia. Conceptually, I told myself it was no different from green beans, but I felt a little bad doing it.

I feared I was straying too far from the essence of Lumpia.

I wrapped and I fried, and I ended up with this:
This was not lumpia.

Not because of the spinach, which was fine and actually kind of good, but because of the wrapper. Lumpia wrappers are thin, fragile sheets of rice flour mixed with water. Egg roll wrappers are thicker, rubbery sheets of dough - flour, water, and eggs. Lumpia wrappers fry up crispy, flaky, delicious. Egg rolls wrappers fry up puffy and heavy and a more doughy inner side.

And this is why lumpia wrappers are far superior than egg rolls wrappers - lumpia does not end up looking like it has boils.


  1. great title for this post! classic Rumsfeld

  2. Not only did we go to dinner without the right ingredients, but our head chief doesn't even know how to make a proper lumpia (his background is only in the old Hungarian sector).

    Due to his limited Filipino knowledge, he decided to use the shock&awe technique by adding a lot of hot peppers.

  3. Tink Holl or Good Harvest?

  4. Anonymous9:57 PM

    There is an excellent asian grocery store in North Randall- on Miles rd....hardly any fish smell at all...

  5. Hi there, Ladygoat. Is there a good way to reach you via email to discuss media opportunities?

  6. Anonymous4:48 PM

    Personally, I think it looks delicious--boils and all! But, I also happen to like egg roll wrappers. ~sueyoung