Slowly grilling head-on shrimp while basting with a garlic- and chile-infused nuoc cham yields tender, juicy shrimp in this recipe from Hong Tran, of the restaurant Hai San Ba Cuong in Da Nang, Vietnam. Served as a main course on a salad of rice noodles and herbs, they are also fun as an appetizer served with Salt-and-Pepper Limes for squeezing. Vietnam has excellent shrimp in a dozen sizes, and this recipe accentuates their sweetness and tender texture. For the best approximation of Vietnamese shrimp, look for Gulf shrimp, which are large and tender.

May 2019


Credit: Justin Walker

Recipe Summary

50 mins
20 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Open bottom vent of a charcoal grill completely. Light charcoal chimney starter filled with briquettes. When briquettes are covered with gray ash, pour them onto bottom grate of grill, and push to one side of grill. Adjust vents as needed to maintain an internal temperature of 450°F to 500°F.

  • While grill preheats, stir together oil, garlic, sugar, sambal oelek, fish sauce, chili powder, and black pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

  • Thread shrimp lengthwise (from head through tail) onto 6 (12-inch) skewers (about 2 shrimp per skewer). Place skewers on unoiled grates over side of grill without coals. Grill, uncovered, 1 minute; turn skewers, and brush with sambal oelek mixture. Grill, turning and brushing skewers with mixture every 1 to 2 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through and shells are pink and crisp, about 4 minutes. Remove from grill; remove shrimp from skewers.

  • Divide noodles among 4 bowls. Top evenly with shrimp, cucumber slices, scallions, rau ram, lime slices, and chile slices. Serve with nuoc cham and salt-and-pepper limes.

Suggested Pairing

Cold pale lager