In a warehouse in La Crosse, down the hallway from the blacksmith’s shop, is a little room that holds a big business. When you walk in you see a counter, a stove, a freezer, a cash register, and racks for supplies. It looks like one big kitchen! And that it is—a kitchen for egg rolls. The smell of egg rolls is all about, and steam rises from the vats of boiling water in which hundreds of egg rolls cook every day. More egg rolls fill the counters, cooling off.
Tia Yang and her brother and sister own the company. Tia has another job as a shipping worker at a big business, and her siblings have second jobs as well. You might be wondering why the heck they keep so busy. Their reasoning? They wanted to start their own business, something from their Hmong culture they knew how to do, and making egg rolls was the perfect thing.
The business started a year ago, and it must be doing pretty well, because they will be moving into a bigger, better location. Future plans are to open up an area in the store where customers can sit and dine in, like at a restaurant. They hope to have other foods besides egg rolls—noodle salad, take out lunch, and dinners. They also want to hire more employees.
Tia told us they make 300-500 egg rolls per day! They make five different kinds: vegetarian, shrimp, pork, chicken, and beef. Some they make fresh and the customer picks them up right out of the oven, and some they freeze and you can buy them and heat them up.
Here’s how they make the egg rolls: first, you get the ingredients, put them in a big bowl, and mix them. (The ingredients are the same ones they used in Laos.) Then you roll them up into crust. You put them in sizzling water to cook. You have to let them cool for a while.
When we tasted them, they were great! I hope the Yang family’s Hmong's Golden Egg Roll business does well, and keeps up the tradition of making delicious food!
When we walked into Hmong’s Golden Egg Rolls, we saw shelves and shelves of ingredients and sauces. Tia Yang, her brother, and her sister all own the shop. Everybody who works there has another job. They started a year ago because they wanted to have a place of their own. They are moving to a bigger place, where they will make other Hmong food as well as eggrolls. In their egg rolls they put cabbage, onion, carrots, seasoning, and meat for the non-vegetarian ones. Just family works there now but when they move they will hire more people. The egg rolls sell at $1.00 a piece. Tia can roll seventy to eighty egg rolls in one hour.
Mostly Hmong people buy egg rolls there. They cost $1 an eggroll, 75 cents for a frozen egg roll. Tia can roll out dough for 80 egg rolls in one hour. People mostly order the egg rolls for parties, weddings, and the New Year.
To stay in business they work hard. They get up in the morning to start work at 6:00 and make egg rolls until it’s dark at 9:00.
Egg Roll Factory
Crispy, brown, oily,
I hear bubbling hot oil
rising over soft, uncooked