My wife recons I’m the only person in the world that calls Spring Rolls, Mini Spring Rolls. But when I was a kid a Spring Roll was about five inches long and somewhere between a golf ball and a tennis ball in circumference. It was a pretty intimidating thing. Full of cabbage and mustard powder and deep fried. Of course, in Australia the Spring Roll was completely rolled by the Chiko Roll.
A guy from my local beach, Cronulla, was in one of the TV ads for Chiko Rolls. “You can’t knock the roll.” He said proudly sitting in the back of a panel van. He wasn’t quite so proud when I accidentally ran him over and dinged his surfboard. I’m sure he would have given the ten year old version of me a hiding except that all of his mates stopped him because they thought it was so funny.
But back to my point, you would buy Spring Rolls from the local Greek owned fish and chip shop. (Nick named the Chew and spew). The shop was in Sutherland, where I lived and run by Greeks. And quite the opposite of their nick name at the time, they were great cooks. I still lie awake at night wishing that lovely Greek family still sold fish and chips.
Such was our strange multi-cultural society that Chinese restaurants started to sell what was then called Mini Spring Rolls. They were much the same as the Spring Rolls that I had grown up with, but mini. They also had ingredients such as prawns mixed in with the cabbage and mustard powder. They were friggin brilliant. And they have been a personal favorite ever since.
So while the Mini Spring Roll rolled on to become the sixth food group, the Chiko Roll was slowly usurping the real Spring Roll of it’s rightful place on the food chain. The Chiko Roll became an Australian icon. With “You can’t knock the roll”, becoming a catch cry of a generation.
I still remember the last time I ate a Chiko Roll. I bought it from a chip shop in Miranda and it hadn’t been cooked for anywhere near long enough. the center was still raw, and after getting a mouthful of raw cabbage and mustard powder I puked and swore to never eat another Chicko Roll again.