Chop your pork belly into chunky pieces.
Boil water in a medium sized saucepan (filled to halfway) until you have a rolling boil then add a teaspoon of salt and the pork belly pieces.
Cook for the pork belly pieces for no more than 10-15 minutes. This will depend on how thick you cut your pork of course, so test a piece by piercing the pork or pressing it with a chopstick – you don’t want to see any pink juice running out but you want to ensure it doesn’t dry out.
Remove the pork, let it cool, cut it into thin slices, and set it aside.
Boil another pot of water for your rice vermicelli. Follow the instructions on the packet, however, note that they should take no more than a few minutes. Try a noodle to ensure it’s perfectly cooked then drain the noodles, rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process, and set aside.
Boil a final pot of water and when boiled, use a medium sized stainless steel strainer, skimmer or deep-fry colander to dip your raw prawns into the boiling water to poach them until they turn orange, then remove and let them cool.
Once your prawns are cool, peel them, removing the tail, head and deveining them, then carefully slice each shrimp lengthwise into halves and set aside.
Rinse your lettuce and fresh herbs, drain, and dry them.
Break the lettuce into pieces that will fit neatly into your rolls and remove the coriander and mint leaves from the stems.
Peel your cucumber and cut the cucumber lengthwise into very thin slices. Some recipes call for the cucumber to be de-seeded, but we think that’s a personal choice.
Make your classic Hoisin dipping sauce by heating 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a small sauce pan on medium to high heat, then frying 1 tbsp of a finely chopped clove of garlic until the pieces are golden brown. Add Hoisin sauce, vinegar and stir as it simmers on low heat for a few minutes until thick. Pour into small dipping bowls then top with finely sliced, de-seeded, fresh birds eye chillies and crushed peanuts.
Organise your ingredients in dishes in the order that you will arrange them in the dry rice paper rolls. I like to start with fresh coriander leaves, prawns, pork, rice vermicelli, the rest of the fresh herbs, cucumber, and lettuce.
Next, put some cold water in a flat pan or big plate that is large enough and deep enough to allow you to completely submerge a single rice paper sheet.
Ready a large cutting board to assemble your rolls, then prepare to work fast.
Quickly dip a sheet of rice paper into the water so that it is thoroughly damped but not completely wet. This should take no more than two to three seconds.
Shake off any excess water, lay the rice paper sheet on the cutting board, then imagine a horizontal line across the centre of the sheet and just below this place three big coriander leaves in a line and then in between them place your two prawn halves horizontally.
Lay a couple of pork slices horizontally upon these, then a lump of your rice vermicelli which you should spread out, then a sprinkle of the fresh herb leaves, a few slices of cucumber, then a lettuce leaf, and a couple of garlic chives.
Using your lettuce leaf to hold everything in place, pull the bottom of the rice paper up over the whole mass of ingredients to create the first semblance of a roll.
Quickly pull in the right side of the rice paper to partly cover the ends, then the left side to do the same, then firmly roll it all up to the end, so everything remains tightly in place. When you turn it over you should see the coriander leaves look pretty between the prawn halves.
Serve attractively piled on a plate or platter at the centre of the table but provide individual dipping sauces for your guests. If you’re serving these at a party or barbecue you can slice them diagonally in half.
Serve the rolls within an hour or so after making them. If you’re going to serve them later than this, then you’ll need to wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap and put them in an air-tight container in the fridge, otherwise they will dry out.