Who Invented the Chinese Egg Roll?

Chinese egg rolls have long been enjoyed on family dinner tables the world over and a favorite recipe in Asia. Despite being called Chinese, many still wonder where this dish originally came from and who invented the Chinese egg roll.

Asian Origin
Countless varieties of egg roll recipes are well known in Asian home kitchens and restaurants. They are stuffed with different fillings from ground pork or beef to assorted chopped veggies and seafood. But most of them are called Chinese rolls no matter if they originated someplace else in Asia. Thus, some culinary people are sure, it was an Asian who invented the Chinese egg roll. And probably the Chinese egg roll inventor was a Chinese.

Like most Asian and Chinese cuisines, the original creator of the egg roll is unknown. No specific name has been mentioned. And anyway, it’s possible that is was not originated from China. Similarly, a lot of so-called Chinese noodle recipes are unheard of anywhere in China. So, just because a dish has “Chinese” included in its name doesn’t always follow that it was first cooked by a Chinese. Many cuisine experts are reluctant to say that a Chinese was who invented the Chinese egg roll. Who knows, the Chinese egg roll inventor may have been a German?

Cantonese Origin
Being often deep fried, most people, especially gourmet people, claim that the dish is Cantonese. Southern Chinese cooking, like Cantonese recipes, are mostly deep fried. Hence, there’s a strong possibility that a Cantonese or a Southern Chinese was who invented the Chinese egg roll. However, there are some Chinese egg roll recipes in Asia that use raw veggies and roll wrappers. So there are variants that are not deep-fried.

Other Possible Origins
Egg rolls have been popular in other parts of the world. It could have been brought to China years ago and given a Chinese name, or it could have been exported from China and given a new name. But being a dim sum or finger food (they are about as thick as a big thumb and some 2 to 3 inches long), they are more fit for chop-sticks dining than when using spoon, fork, and knife. Thus, they are easier to imagine as Asian or Chinese than American or European. And in this sense, the Chinese egg roll inventor was probably Asian.

Moreover, Asians, more so the Chinese, are known to often have recipe ingredients in a variety and chopped. Then, they mix them to form single units, like rolls or balls or small pies or dumplings