By Leslie Radford
Known as Chạo Tôm to Vietnamese people, sugar cane shrimp is a fragrant appetizer that originated from the city of Huế in central Vietnam. It is a traditional dish typically served as an appetizer and is a common dish at weddings, holidays, and other special events. It dates back to the 1960s.
Chạo Tôm features flavorful shrimp mousse, which is bouncy on the outside and juicy on the inside with a mild seafood flavor. The shrimp is made into a paste with seasonings such as garlic, shallot, ginger, fish sauce, black pepper, and other Asian seasonings. Then it is often wrapped around a sugarcane or lemongrass stick and then fried until golden. They’re deeply infused with sautéed aromatics, steamed for a remarkable springy texture then deep-fried until golden.
When served at parties as a main dish, it is typically wrapped with herbs and placed with grilled meat and noodle platters. It’s usually the star of the show.
Shrimp mousse goes great with sriracha or Thai sweet chili sauce to bring out the various flavors of the dish. It also can be paired with a delicious side of rice vermicelli noodles.
At Pho 95, we have two ways to enjoy shrimp mousse: Fried on a sugar cane stick or as a spread on rice paper that is deep-fried. You’ll not only love the aroma but the lightness and complex flavors of this fried appetizer.