Saigon Shrimp with Rice Sticks and Nuoc Cham Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

Many of the classic flavors and ingredients of Southeast Asia come together in this bowl. To be politically correct, I guess I should rename this Ho Chi Minh City Shrimp. The sauce is a favorite that I make up in larger batches and often toss with cooked thin noodles like Japanese somen for a quick small meal. Rice sticks, which are made from rice flour, come in a variety of widths and lengths. While the widest varieties need cooking like other dried noodles, the very fine ones are typically just soaked in warm water before being added to soups, stir-fries, or other preparations. You can also make this dish with bean thread noodles.


  1. ¼ pound thin rice stick noodles or vermicelli
  2. pounds medium shrimp, brined if desired, peeled, deveined, and patted dry
  3. 2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
  4. 2 teaspoons peeled and finely minced fresh ginger
  5. 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  6. 4 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
  7. ½ cup garlic chives or 1 cup scallions (green parts only) cut into ¼-inch lengths
  8. ½ cup Nuoc Cham Sauce
  9. cup coarsely chopped toasted peanuts
  10. cup fresh cilantro leaves


Cover the rice stick noodles with warm water and soften for 20 minutes. Drain and arrange on a serving platter.

Toss the shrimp with the fish sauce and ginger and set aside. Heat a wok or heavy skillet over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. When hot, quickly sauté the bean sprouts and chives for about 20 seconds. Spoon the cooked vegetables over the noodles.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok and sauté the shrimp over high heat until they just turn pink, about 2 minutes. Arrange over the rice sticks and vegetables and top with several spoonfuls of Nuoc Cham Sauce and a sprinkling of peanuts and cilantro. Garnish with mint sprigs, if using, and serve immediately.

Garnish if you like with fresh mint sprigs