Pork and Vegetable Lumpia by Marvin Gapultos

“When I was in college, two things—and two things alone—encouraged my two-hour drive back to my parents’ house at least once a month: laundry and lumpia”.

“The need for clean laundry goes without saying, but no trip home would be complete without a fresh supply of my mother’s spring rolls filled with seasoned pork and vegetables.  My mother would often make dozens of lumpia in one sitting. But instead of frying her bounty right away, she would place her freshly made lumpia in freezer bags that I would then eagerly take back to my small cramped apartment. My mother’s lumpia could last forever in the freezer, but since they were so easy for me to prepare (I’d just take them out of the freezer, put them in hot oil, and fry until golden and crisp), my stash only seemed to last a few weeks.  Oddly enough, my supply of lumpia almost always correlated with my supply of clean clothes. But after all, it’d be silly to go home just for laundry, wouldn’t it?”

Today, I’ve got my own washer and dryer and I’ve since learned to make my mother’s lumpia. Strangely enough, though, I still find other reasons to visit my parents on the weekends. – Marvin Gapultos

Makes about 2 dozen spring rolls

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound (500g) ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (70g) grated carrot
  • 1 cup (70g) mung bean sprouts
  • ½ cup (65g) frozen peas
  • 25 square spring roll wrappers (8×8 inches/20x20cm), thawed
  • Water, for sealing the spring rolls


  1. Heat a large wok or sauté pan over high heat until a drop of water immediately sizzles and evaporates on contact. Swirl the oil into the pan then add the onions and stir-fry until the onions wilt and begin to lightly brown, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic just begins to brown, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the ground pork and cook for 1 minute, using a spatula or wooden spoon to break the meat into small pieces. Add the fish sauce, black pepper, carrots, bean sprouts and peas and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, 3-4 minutes.
  2. Transfer the cooked filling to a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl and set aside. Draining the filling helps to prevent soggy spring rolls, allow the filling to drain and cool completely. After the filling has cooled, discard any liquid that has accumulated in the bowl and then transfer the filling into the same bowl.
  3. Fill and roll the lumpia.
  4. To fry the lumpia, fill a large frying pan with at least a ½ inch (1.25cm) of vegetable oil. Heat over moderately high heat until the oil reaches 350° F (175° C) on a deep fry thermometer. Alternatively, you can also a small piece of lumpia wrapper into the hot oil; if it sizzles and immediately begins to brown, the oil is hot enough and ready for frying.
  5. When the oil is ready, fry the lumpia in batches, being careful to not overcrowd the pan. Fry the lumpia, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp, 3-4 minutes total. If frying frozen lumpia, add 1 minute of cook time to each side. Transfer the fried lumpia to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Marvin Gapultos author of The Adobo Road Cookbook: A Filipino Journey, From Food Blog, To Food Truck, And Beyond

As a food blogger-turned-gourmet food trucker, Marvin interprets traditional Filipino flavors with equal parts kitchen savvy and street smarts–providing easy-to-follow, tried and true recipes that serve as a guide to the pleasures of Filipino cooking. The nearly 100 recipes in these pages pave a culinary road trip that transports home cooks to the roadside food stalls, bars and home kitchens of the Philippines, to the hungry streets of L.A., and even into the sage kitchen’s of Marvin’s own grandmother, mother and aunties.

Fri. May 17
6-7 p.m.

Omnivore Books on Food
3885a Cesar Chavez Street
(at Church Street)
San Francisco, CA 94131

Marvin Gapultos launches and signs his new cookbook – The Adobo Road Cookbook: A Filipino Journey, From Food Blog, To Food Truck, And Beyond

This event is FREE, with a delectable Filipino spread provided by Seafood City and prepared by Chef Tim Luym of San Mateo’s Attic Restaurant