Today, no Chinese delivery order would be complete without the addition of the classic fried appetizer: the egg roll. But while this dish may be a staple of traditional Chinese food in America, you may be surprised to learn that the egg roll didn’t come to be in China and isn’t even a century old. In fact, Peking Wok, Anchorage’s best Chinese takeout cuisine, explains how the fried food’s birthplace is much closer to home.
The traditional egg roll features an assortment of meats and veggies packed into crispy, flaky fried flatbread; it’s an excellent finger food, perfect for dipping into all types of Chinese sauces. The appetizer is similar to the spring roll, a smaller fried pastry featuring similar fillings within fried rice paper. And while the spring roll has origins in historic China, the egg roll, as we know it today, didn’t surface until about 1930 in America.
In 1930s New York, chef Henry Low made his claim to fame as one of the first people to publish a recipe for a fried savory roll, which would later become commonplace in Chinese takeout throughout the country. The original recipe, featured in Low’s book Cook at Home in Chinese, wrapped up a combination of pork, shrimp, scallions, bamboo shoots, and seasonings in fried flour flat bread. In the decades to follow, Chinese restaurants would popularize the snack to diners all across the United States.
Nearly 90 years later, Americans are still chowing down on this classic culinary treat. While the original composition of the egg roll hasn’t changed much, the types of filling options have expanded to cater to the tastes of diverse crowds. More traditional versions include roast pork, chicken, or shrimp with shredded cabbage, carrots, and bean sprouts. Other options include vegetarian or beef options. Inventive chefs have even crafted egg rolls inspired by bacon cheeseburgers, as well as apple pie.
If unwrapping the unique history of the Chinese-American egg roll has sparked your appetite, Peking Wok offers some of the most exceptional takeout in Alaska. With a Chinese menu featuring traditional Chinese food, appetizers, fried rice, soups, and Szechwan cooking, you’ll find something for the whole family at affordable prices. To place an order for Chinese takeout or delivery in Anchorage, AK, call the restaurant at (907) 248-1648.