Crispy Tuna Shanghai

Crispy Tuna Shanghai is quick and easy to make and so cheesy and tasty! These fish spring rolls are a healthier and cheaper alternative to meat lumpia and delicious as a snack, appetizer, or main dish.

If you love Lumpiang Shanghai but limiting your meat intake, you need to try these crispy, cheesy tuna spring rolls! They’re a great alternative to pork shanghai and perfect for the Lenten season.

You get a healthier and less fat lumpia without sacrificing the crunchy texture and savory taste you love from the classic. And for far cheaper, too!

Ingredient Suggestions

I have a fish lumpia recipe already on the blog, but although delicious, it does require a bit more work. This tuna version is far simpler with pantry ingredients you probably already have on hand.

Canned tuna – I like to use tuna flakes in oil as I find it more moist and flavorful. Feel free to use chunks/flakes in brine or water if you prefer.
Water chestnuts – adds crunch; if not available, you can substitute jicama (singkamas)
Carrots and green onions – for color and texture; you can also add or swap with diced bell peppers, celery, or red onions
Shredded Cheese – for creamy taste; I like to use Eden brand but any processed filled cheese or quick-melt cheese will do
Cayenne pepper or chili powder – optional; add 1 teaspoon of cayenne or chili powder to the tuna mixture if you want a kick of spice
Lumpia wrappers – for light and crispy texture, use spring roll wrappers
Oil – use oil with a neutral flavor and high smoke point such as grapeseed, canola, or safflower oil

Cooking Tips

  • Drain the canned tuna well, as extra moisture could make the lumpia soggy and tear the wrappers.
  • Shred or chop the vegetables very finely so they’ll cook quickly.
  • While wrapping, cover the rest of the wrappers with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out.
  • Use a small or narrow saucepan to use lesser oil; add enough oil to get about 2-inch deep.
  • Heat the oil to an optimal temperature of 350 F to 375 F. Too hot and the wrappers will burn before sufficiently cooked; too low and the lumpia will absorb a lot more grease.
  • Cook in batches as needed to prevent the oil from plummeting and bring the oil back up to 350F before adding the next round.
  • Do not drain on paper towels, or they’ll get soggy with the steam. Drain on a wire rack set over a baking sheet or in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl to catch oil drips.
  • Serving suggestions

    Crispy tuna shanghai are delicious as an appetizer, snack, or main dish. Serve with your choice of dipping sauce such as sweet chili sauce, banana ketchup, sweet and sour sauce, or spicy vinegar.

    How to Store?

  • As with most fried foods, fried lumpia are best enjoyed freshly cooked as they lose their crispness over time.
  • Store them unfried in resealable bags and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To freeze, arrange the unfried lumpia in a single layer with some space in between on a baking sheet. Wrap tightly with cling wrap and freeze for about 30 minutes to an hour or until firm. This step will prevent them from sticking together. When frozen, transfer to a resealable bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To fry, do not thaw. Heat about 2-inch deep of oil to 350 F and carefully add the rolls. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until golden, crispy, and fully cooked.
  • Crispy Tuna Shanghai

    Crispy Tuna Shanghai are quick and easy to make and a healthier and cheaper alternative to meat spring rolls. They’re cheesy, tasty, and delicious as a snack, appetizer, or main dish.

    Prep Time: 15 mins
    Cook Time: 10 mins
    Total Time: 25 mins
    Author: Lalaine Manalo
    Course: Appetizer, Main Entree


  • 2 cans (6.35 ounces each) tuna flakes in oil, drained well
  • 1/4 cup water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded quick melt cheese (Eden)
  • canola oil
  • 12 spring roll wrappers
  • Instructions

  • In a bowl, combine tuna, water chestnuts, carrots, and green onions. Stir to combine, breaking tuna into smaller pieces.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
  • Add cheese. Stir well to combine.
  • Separate spring roll wrappers into individual sheets, Arrange a wrapper on a flat working surface.
  • Spoon tuna filling on the bottom part of the wrapper, fold the wrapper over the filling and then fold sides. Roll tightly into a log and lightly dab with water on the end to completely seal. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  • In a wide pan over medium heat, heat about 1-inch deep of oil. Add tuna lumpia in a single layer and deep-fry, turning as needed, until golden and crunchy.
  • Remove from pan and drain on a wire rack. Serve immediately with a choice of dipping sauce.
  • Notes

    Shred or chop the vegetables very finely so they’ll cook quickly and congruently with the wrappers.

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