Vietnamese-Style Crispy Shrimp Cakes

Prep Time
Cook Time
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Recipe: #25750

March 10, 2017

"These crispy shrimp cakes were inspired by chao tom, Vietnamese shrimp on sugar cane, which is a delectable appetizer you'll find at restaurants. You can serve these cakes as an appetizer wrapped in lettuce leaves or herbs (large basil leaves are wonderful) Or pan-fry them up for lunch or dinner, heaping them on rice noodles and dousing it all with nuoc cham."

Original is 7 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (302.1 g)
  • Calories 538.3
  • Total Fat - 43.5 g
  • Saturated Fat - 6.3 g
  • Cholesterol - 97.4 mg
  • Sodium - 2019.3 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 24.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 3.8 g
  • Sugars - 8.7 g
  • Protein - 16.5 g
  • Calcium - 100.2 mg
  • Iron - 1.8 mg
  • Vitamin C - 68 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.2 mg

Step by Step Method

Step 1

In the bowl of a food processor, combine shrimp, cornstarch, lemon grass, garlic, chiles, white and light green scallion bottoms, 2 teaspoons sugar and salt. Pulse until mixture forms a coarse paste.

Step 2

In a small bowl, whisk together fish sauce, lime zest and juice, 1 tablespoon sugar and the dark green scallion tops.

Step 3

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Wet hands to keep shrimp paste from sticking. Form 2 tablespoons of shrimp mixture into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Dust patty with cornstarch. Repeat with remaining batter.

Step 4

Fry patties in batches until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve over rice noodles, if desired, drizzled with fish sauce mixture and strewn with cilantro.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

Step 5

Warm 3 tablespoons of the peanut oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet until nearly smoking. Add the peanuts and stir.

Step 6

Remove from the heat and continue stirring until the peanuts are toasted and then allow to cool.

Step 7

Place the peanuts in a food processor and puree to a rough paste.

Step 8

Add the chili peppers, ginger, garlic, coconut milk, soy and fish sauces, sugar, lime juice and salt. Puree until almost smooth.

Step 9

Place the peanut mixture into a bowl and with a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining peanut oil until the sauce has a nice sheen.

Step 10

Stir in the minced coriander. This sauce can also be used as a dip for grilled meats, or as a sauce for cold noodle salad.


No special items needed.

Editorial Notes

The ingredient tips, suggestions, variations, facts, questions and answers below are not edits to the original author's recipe. They are not meant to imply any change would improve the recipe. They're offered for convenience, alternative ideas, and points of interest. If you have any comments about them, please post in the Help & Ideas forum.

  • For the shrimp, make sure to use large shrimp and peel them before chopping.
  • For the chiles, you can use either serrano or jalapeño peppers depending on the level of heat you prefer.

  • Lemon Grass: Galangal - Galangal has a similar flavor profile to lemon grass, but is slightly more pungent and earthy. This substitution will add a unique depth of flavor to the shrimp cakes.
  • Fish Sauce: Soy Sauce - Soy sauce is a great substitute for fish sauce, as it has a similar salty, umami flavor. This substitution will make the dish vegan-friendly.

Spicy Coconut Shrimp Cakes Replace the peanuts in the dipping sauce with shredded coconut and add 1 teaspoon of chili powder to the shrimp mixture. Fry the patties in coconut oil instead of peanut oil. Serve with a side of fresh pineapple and mango for a tropical twist.

Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowls - These bowls are a delicious and easy way to enjoy the flavors of the Vietnamese-Style Crispy Shrimp Cakes. The bowls are made with vermicelli noodles, topped with lettuce, cucumber, bean sprouts, and herbs, and drizzled with a flavorful Vietnamese dipping sauce. The crispy shrimp cakes are the perfect addition to these bowls, adding a crunchy texture and a burst of flavor.

Grilled Lemongrass Pork Skewers: These flavorful pork skewers are marinated in a blend of lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce, and sugar, then grilled to perfection. The juicy pork is complemented by the crunchy vegetables and herbs, making them a great accompaniment to the Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowls. The sweet and savory marinade adds a unique flavor to the pork skewers, making them a delicious and easy addition to the meal.


Q: What type of shrimp should I use for this recipe?

A: For this recipe, it is best to use large shelled shrimp. If you can find them, it is recommended to use wild-caught shrimp.

Q: Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

A: Yes, you can make this recipe ahead of time. Prepare the ingredients and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook. When ready to cook, proceed with the recipe instructions.

2 Reviews


These went great with other Chinese appetizers I made for New Years Eve. I doubled the sauce to use with other appetizers. It was so yummy! Saving for making again.


review by:
(1 Jan 2021)


Wow, I really enjoyed these delicious shrimp cakes. I did scale it down for myself and had 3 delicious treats that I enjoyed for lunch. They were easy to make, if a little time consuming but boy did they taste great, well worth the effort. I like the dipping sauce but must confess that I was a little both lists of ingredients. Thank you for sharing your recipe... so happy I tried it. Made for What's on the Menu? Tag game.


review by:
(9 Mar 2018)

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Fun facts:

The Vietnamese-Style Crispy Shrimp Cakes recipe is inspired by a traditional Vietnamese dish called chao tom. Chao tom is a popular appetizer served in restaurants, which is made of shrimp wrapped around sugar cane skewers and grilled.

The recipe for Vietnamese-Style Crispy Shrimp Cakes was created by celebrity chef and restaurateur, David Chang. Chang is the founder of the Momofuku restaurant group, which has locations in New York, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Toronto, and Sydney.