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Close up of Tôm Rim Thịt in a pot.
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4.86 from 7 votes

Tôm Rim Thịt (Vietnamese Caramelized Shrimp and Pork)

Tôm Rim Thịt is an epic Caramelized Shrimp and Pork dish for rice. It comes in a sticky savory-sweet caramel and a little goes a long way!
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Vietnamese
Servings: 8
Calories: 1386kcal
Author: Jeannette


  • 250 g / 0.55 lb shrimp (a.k.a. school prawns)
  • 1 kg / 2.2 lb pork belly (cut into 2cm/0.8" chunks)
  • 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 3 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (or to taste)
  • 3 tsp nước màu (Vietnamese caramel) (or substitute it with dark soy sauce)
  • 1/4 US cup water
  • 2 tbsp oil


  • Heat up a pot on high heat and pour in the oil. When hot, add the garlic in to fry for 30 seconds or until aromatic.
  • Pour the shrimp in to cook for 3 minutes or until orange all over, then transfer into a bowl for later.
  • Add the pork belly in along with the fish sauce, salt, nước màu (or dark soy sauce), sugar and chicken bouillon powder. Stir until well combined and cook for 5 minutes on high heat.
  • Add the cooked shrimp back in and stir well, then pour in the water to simmer on low-medium heat for 30 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce.
    Note: Families usually eat this side dish on the saltier side with less sauce.
  • Enjoy as is over hot rice!



  • Let it simmer low and slow. This will help with the caramelization and give it a chance for the flavors to cook into the pork and shrimp.
  • Use coconut water. By doing so, you'll get a delicate sweetness that water and sugar alone will not give.
  • Keep the shrimp shells on. The crunchy texture makes Tôm Rim Thịt much more enjoyable because it's taken beyond just flavor!
  • We use pork belly because it has a good ratio of meat to fat for a juicier bite, but you can choose whichever cut you prefer.
  • Some families like to leave the heads and legs on the shrimp. I've removed it off mine using scissors, which is entirely optional. You can even deshell them all if that's what you prefer.
  • If you don't have any Nước Màu (Vietnamese Caramel Sauce) available, just substitute it for dark soy sauce. It's mainly used to deepen the color.


Calories: 1386kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 136g | Saturated Fat: 49g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Monounsaturated Fat: 64g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 259mg | Sodium: 1407mg | Potassium: 507mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 26IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 2mg