Chạo tôm is a Huế-style central Việtnamese appetizer (there are several variations of chạo tôm from that region, but this is the most popular throughout Việtnam). Before grilling or frying, raw shrimp is ground into a smooth paste with garlic, shallot, sugar, boiled pork fat, roasted rice flour, fish sauce, egg white and black pepper before being wrapped around a sugarcane stalk.
The skewers are served with rice paper and bánh hỏi (a Việtnamese dish made of steamed fine rice vermicelli woven into intricate bundles and often topped with chopped scallions or garlic chives sautéed in oil), as well as sliced young banana, young star fruit, fresh herbs and lettuce, leaves as additional side garnishes, which you can use to make your own rolls.
From the syrupiness of sugarcane to the delicately fragrant of the shrimp, the tart and bitterness of green young banana and starfruit, and the slightly sour-sweet dipping sauce, the meal provides a spectrum of flavours. After the flavourful grilled shrimp, we love biting into the sugarcane as a chaser.
Chạo tôm is frequently served at huge banquets for weddings and other special occasions.