The source of the name "egg roll" is unknown. Spring rolls, the Chinese snack upon which egg rolls are based, do not contain eggs in the wrapping or filling. The name may come from an unrelated Chinese dish in which a filling is rolled up in a small omelet. The American egg roll wrapper contains a small amount of egg, so that may be the source of the name.
The Chinese name for spring roll is "cha chuen guen," which means "fried circle roll." Egg rolls were actually first created in New York in the 1930s. The filling for early egg rolls included bamboo shoots, shrimp, water chestnuts, roast pork and scallions in contrast to the common modern filling, as of 2014, of cabbage, carrots, and pork or shrimp.
An egg roll is made by wrapping a very thin wrapper of flour dough around the cabbage filling and then deep-frying it. Egg rolls are slightly heavier than spring rolls. They should be served very hot and crunchy. Egg rolls are usually eaten as appetizers. Many versions of egg rolls are eaten in China. In the United States, restaurants sometimes create fusion versions of egg rolls including southwest egg rolls, cheese steak egg rolls and pizza rolls.