Minced prawn on sugarcane or Chao tom is one of the most delicious and popular Vietnamese traditional dishes. It has been said that this food originated in Hue – the old kingdom of Vietnam and the recipe was created by a cook in Hue Imperial Palace. Although this food isn’t as famous as Banh mi and Pho, it’s a brilliant gem of Vietnamese cuisine.
It needs a careful choice of ingredients and many complex steps to make Chao tom. Ingredients to make Chao tom are fresh prawn, pork, egg white, green onion, carrot, peanuts, black pepper, chili, soy sauce, sugar, etc. The most important part is that the mix of prawn, pork and egg white should be ground until it becomes chewy and tough. Minced carrot, chopped green onion, peanuts could be added to the mixed. After being frozen in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes, the mix is rolled on 20-cm sugarcane sticks. Then the cook steams these sticks for about 10 minutes before they are being grilled or deep-fried until being crispy outside, tender inside and fragrant. Sugarcane brings to the food a specific flavor and smell.
Chao tom should be served hot right after being ready with herbs (Vietnamese basil, balm-mint, fish mint, mint leaves, marjoram), vegetables (salad, greens, cucumber, star fruit), sweet and sour fish sauce dip, green onion oil, rice noodles/Vietnamese rice vermicelli sheets. Rice paper could be served to wrap Chao tom, herbs, vegetables, and rice noodles into a roll, dip into tasty sauce and tuck in.
In recent days, become more and more popular, this royal dish has been sold at many restaurants and street food stalls around the country. Some people prefer grilling Chao tom themselves at BBQ restaurants and food stalls. If you have a chance to visit Vietnam, do not miss this amazing food.
Minced prawn and pork on sugarcane sticks are served at street food stalls so that dinners can grill it on char-coal themselves
Grilled Chao tom is one of the best foods to eat with Vietnamese rice vermicelli sheets