Food File: Bun Chao Tom Cha Gio

To understand the sublime beauty of bún chạo tôm chả giò, you first have to meet the ingredients.

Dear readers, meet chạo tôm.

chao tom

Chạo tôm is usually translated as prawn paste on sugar cane sticks. But it’s not just prawn. For the right consistency, minced prawn is mixed with minced pork. The “paste” is then squeezed onto sugar cane sticks and thrown on the barbecue.

Now meet chả giò.

cha gio

It’s heaven-in-a-bowl. Or Vietnamese spring rolls if you want to be more precise. Filled with pork and shredded vegetables and scissor-cut into bite-size pieces.

Now meet your old friend bún thịt nướng. (And remember that bún is a type of fresh rice noodle and thịt nướng is barbecued meat, in this case pork.)

Bun thit nuong

Now imagine what happens when you put all these things together.

It is pure mouth magic.

Let me introduce bún chạo tôm chả giò.

Bun chao tom cha gio

Hiding under the bún noodles, meat and pickled vegetables are fresh herbs, strips of cucumber and fresh bean sprouts. And when the bowl is plonked down in front of you, the first thing you do is dump nước mắm, the all purpose Vietnamese dipping sauce, on top and then toss the ingredients until everything is thoroughly mixed through.

This, dear readers, is what we give our hardiest Saigon Street Eats food tourers. Most people can’t manage lunch because they gorge themselves at our picnic in the temple grounds. But on our morning walking tour, those with handy ever-expanding stomachs get to try this dish (and it’s usually the skinniest people who can fit the most in, believe it or not!)

Sorry for bombarding you with two posts in two days. We’ve been so busy with tours that I haven’t had time to blog. And before focusing on food I needed to update everyone on my missing/not-missing bag situation.

Next week I hope to entertain you with the last few posts of my Colours of Vietnam series. Catch you soon!

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6 years ago

By: Barbara

A career girl who dropped out, traveled, found love, and never got around to going home again. Now wrangling a cross-cultural relationship and two third culture kids.


  1. Malinda says:

    I’m drooling all over my screen!!!! One of my favourite dishes in Vietnam.

  2. Carmel says:

    That looks so much better than what I have planned for lunch. If I have to run around between meals in order to fit that in my belly, I will do it.

  3. i wish i had a big bowl of that right now. SUPER YUM!
    wandering educators recently posted..Inquiry Learning in the Amazon – Why ask Why?

  4. Odin says:

    Look like super yummy! I’m craving… Yum! Thanks Barbara!

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