Detroit journalist and Metro Times restaurant critic Tom Perkins knows Detroit-style egg rolls. As Perkins has reported, the root of it all was corned beef, made popular in Detroit a century ago. 

“There’s a big Jewish population in Detroit,” Perkins said. “They opened all these corned beef shops and then the Jewish folks left town, African American folks moved into the neighborhoods, enjoyed corned beef so some of the restaurants that were there that have been around for 60 years stayed in business.” 


In the late 1970s, a woman from Vietnam, Kim White, started putting corned beef into egg roll wrappers and fried them up. She called them Asian corned beef egg rolls and now has several stores around the city. She’s generally credited with inventing the dish. 

More recently, other corned beef egg rolls have popped up around metro Detroit. An Allen Park restaurant, Sista Roles Street Eats sells extra-large egg rolls full of different fillings served on a stick like a corndog, with varieties that include chicken broccoli alfredo, chicken and beef shawarma, chicken fajita, lamb, stuffed salmon and veggie hibachi. Food aficionados nationwide are taking note.

One Detroit Senior Producer Bill Kubota explores the history of the dish that has evolved into a deep-fried multicultural array of different food presentations across the Motor City – a story that’s Truly Detroit.

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