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Vietnamese Shrimp Sticks on a serving plate
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Vietnamese Shrimp on Sticks (Chao Tom)

Vietnamese Shrimp on Sticks (Chao Tom) consists of flavorful shrimp mousse wrapped around lemongrass or sugarcane sticks. It is a tasty appetizer for daily meals or parties.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Freezing Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizers and Side dishes
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: easy, party, quick
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 91kcal
Author: Sophie


  • 10-12 oz peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 6-7 lemongrass stalks
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed or finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed or finely minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed or finely minced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (plus more for greasing and frying)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch


  • Make sure the shrimps are very cold. If you have time, put them in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
  • Cut lemongrass stalks into 4 to 4 1/2-inch sticks. If the outer layer is dry, peel it off. Make a few slits along the lemongrass to make it easier to release the aroma. You can watch the video in the post to see how to do this step.
  • Add shrimps to the bowl of a food processor. Also add garlic, shallot and ginger. Pulse a few times until shrimps are coarsely chopped.
  • Add salt, black pepper, fish sauce, olive oil and cornstarch to the food processor bowl and process until smooth.
  • Check if the shrimp mousse is still cold. If not, chill in the refrigerator. Use a spoon to mix the paste a few times. Very lightly oil your hand and use a tablespoon (or slightly more) of shrimp mousse to wrap around the top part of each lemongrass stick.
  • Place a fry pan with a generous amount of oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add shrimp sticks and fry until golden. You can also grill them.
  • Serve hot with sriracha sauce (or Vietnamese nuoc cham dressing or Thai chili sauce), lettuce and fresh herbs. You can also add some rice vermicelli noodles to the serving plate.



This dish can be made with sugarcane sticks instead of lemongrass. I prefer lemongrass since it is easier to find. More importantly, the shrimp mousse will be infused with a very pleasant fragrance from lemongrass after cooking. 
Before wrapping, you can cook a small amount of the shrimp mousse to make sure it is seasoned to your liking.
Traditionally, the shrimp sticks will be steamed for 5-6 minutes and then fried until golden. I find it totally fine to fry them right away. If you want to make ahead, you can steam the shrimp sticks and freeze them.


Calories: 91kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 179mg | Sodium: 814mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 2mg