Gu Gong’s 7-ingredient Hokkien Popiah

Written by: Janice Lim

bout 15 years ago, my late Gugong (grand-uncle) gave me the list of ingredients verbally, with an estimated but unclear quantity and simply told me to fry them individually with salt & msg before combining them to fry and simmer.

“The key to Hokkien popiah is the 7 ingredients that goes into the main dish.”

We used to eat this dish at his house on my great grandparents’ death anniversaries and birthdays (about 3-4 times a year) lovingly prepared by him and his wife, my grandaunt. The preparation is always a family affair as all my 4 aunts and uncle would also help.


Assembling popiah
All wrapped and ready to eat!
The 7 ingredients, before mixing

It is a simple dish but a lot of works is needed. The slicing and shredding can take up a whole day if they were cooking for a large party of 30 people. They serve their popiah with ginger tea and brown sugar to get rid of the ‘wind’ that is brought about by the large amount of vegetables.

The key to Hokkien popiah is the 7 ingredients that goes into the main dish. Every home cook uses their own combination depending on their preference. I realised that the popiah tastes equally good regardless of how much of each ingredient I use, but I’ll always try to balance up the colours of the filling. To enjoy the popiah, put the fillings and all the condiments on the skin and roll it up into a spring roll. There are no rules as to how much or what order you add the ingredients. The fun lies in creating your own popiah according to your personal preference!

Gu Gong’s 7-ingredient Hokkien Popiah

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Recipe by Janice Lim Course: MainCuisine: ChineseDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the filling
  • 1.7 kg turnip, shredded

  • 4 medium-size carrots, shredded

  • 500 g french bean (about 2 packs), sliced thinly and diagonally

  • 6 stalks of spring onion, sliced thinly and diagonally

  • 2 pieces firm bean curd (tao kua), shredded or sliced

  • 500 g pork belly, blanched and thinly sliced

  • 700 g cabbage

  • Condiments
  • 30 pcs prawns, remove veins

  • 4 pcs chinese sausage, soak and remove skin

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 pack bean sprouts, remove ends and blanch

  • 1 lettuce

  • peanuts roasted and grind

  • chilli paste (chilli, chilli padi and garlic, blended)

  • garlic paste (garlic blended)

  • sweet sauce

  • popiah skin (i prefer the popiah skin from joo chiat)


  • Prepare condiments (can be done a day in advance).
  • Blanch pork belly, remove skin and cut into strips.
  • Prepare filling ingredients. For the prawn, cook with shell on and save the broth.
  • Fry each fillings ingredient individually with oil (i prefer to use oil from pork lard) and garlic. Add salt for flavouring and set aside. My Gugong used to add MSG to each ingredient but i skip that and find that they are tasty enough with just garlic & salt.
  • Fry pork belly with oyster sauce, hua diao, douban jiang soy sauce and pepper (this is my version as i don’t remember how gugong cooked the pork belly)
  • Combine all individually fried ingredients. Add some prawn broth, fry and simmer with low fire for 20mins or longer depending on whether some crunch is preferred. The flavour gets better when simmer longer.
  • While popiah is simmering, remove the shell on the prawns and halve them.
  • Fry chinese sausages and thinly slice.
  • Beat eggs and spread thickly on pan and fry. Cut into thin strips.
  • Serve the filling and condiments!

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With special thanks from the Kampung Eats team to Janice!

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