Lumpia Shanghai

Lumpia Shanghai

Lumpia are cousins to spring rolls, a tradition that most likely goes back to the Chinese traders who first visited the Philippines in the ninth century. As kids, we’d crowd around the kitchen counter to make them, spooning out the filling and rolling up the skins before sliding them into hot oil. They come in different incarnations and may be served unfried and even unwrapped, but the classic is lumpia Shanghai, skinny cigarillos with supercrunchy skins, packed with meat, juices seething. I like dipping them in banana ketchup, which you can buy or improvise by cooking overripe bananas and tomato paste into a sweet-and-sour jam.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 20 persons



  1. Step 1

    Prepare the filling: In a large bowl, combine the carrot, onion, water chestnuts, celery, garlic, 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk, fish sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt; mix until well blended. Add the pork, beef, pepper and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Using your hands, gently mix until everything is evenly distributed, being careful not to overwork or compress the meat mixture.
  2. Step 2

    Prepare the lumpia: In a small bowl, whisk about 3 tablespoons water into remaining egg white. Working one at a time, place a lumpia wrapper on a work surface with one corner facing you. Add 3 tablespoons of filling in the center of the wrapper and shape it into a 7-inch-long log stretching from the left corner of the wrapper toward the right corner of the wrapper. Brush the outer 1-inch edge of the wrapper with the egg white mixture, then lift the bottom corner of the lumpia wrapper and fold it up and over the filling, making sure there’s no air between the filling and the wrapper. Tightly fold the left and right corners of the wrapper toward the center, pulling and folding the corners over the filling. Roll the log away from you toward the top corner, tightly sealing it closed and forming it into a compact roll.
  3. Step 3

    In a deep pot, add enough oil to reach 3 inches and heat over medium-high until about 350 degrees. Working in batches, add 6 or so lumpia and cook, rotating frequently and separating if needed, until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large, paper towel-lined baking sheet to cool, then cook the remaining lumpia. (You can also freeze uncooked lumpia until firm on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, wrap them well and keep them frozen for up to 2 weeks. Fry frozen lumpia for 4 to 5 minutes.)
  4. Step 4

    Serve lumpia whole or halved crosswise, with banana ketchup for dipping. If serving a crowd, you can cook the lumpia an hour or two ahead, let them come to room temperature then reheat them in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.