Vietnamese Caramelized Shrimp

This classic Vietnamese dish is often made with thinly sliced pork belly. For that variation, stir-fry 1/4 pound thinly sliced pork belly for 5–6 minutes before adding in the shrimp.

Serves: 4Hands-on: 10 minutesTotal: 25 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 4


  • 1 lb. large shrimp, shell and head on
  • ½ Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 scallions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper


  • Rinse the shrimp under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  • In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, fish sauce, scallions, garlic, and ginger. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
  • In a small saucepan, heat ¼ cup oil over medium heat. Sprinkle in the sugar and swirl the saucepan around from time to time until the liquid takes on a dark golden caramel color. It is important to watch while the sugar is cooking to avoid burning. Once done, set aside.
  • Heat a wok or skillet to medium-high heat and add the remaining oil. Once the oil is hot, add the shrimp and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes.
  • Add a few spoonfuls of the caramelized sugar, tossing the shrimp to coat evenly. Cook for an additional 1–2 minutes until the shrimp is thoroughly cooked. Season with black pepper and serve immediately.