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Tôm Rim in a pan
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5 from 4 votes

Tôm Rim (Vietnamese Caramelized Shrimp)

This is a classic Tôm Rim recipe for glossy and fragrant Vietnamese Caramelized Shrimp. Enjoy the perfect balance of a thick, sweet and savory glaze!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Marinating Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Vietnamese
Servings: 6
Calories: 239kcal
Author: Jeannette


  • 1 kg (2.2 lb) fresh prawns
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 3 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 red shallot (finely chopped)
  • 1 sprig spring onion (divided into 5cm/2" segments)
  • 1 chili (finely chopped; optional)


  • Start by cutting the sharp part of the head off. You're looking at cutting roughly 2cm (0.8") off from the tip of the head.
    Tip: For preparing the prawns, it's easiest with a pair of scissors.
  • Snip the legs off from tail to head.
  • Cut the tail to remove it.
  • Use a toothpick to devein the prawn by digging in between the pieces of shell, then scooping out the intestinal tract. You'll be pulling out a long and thin string that is often black.
  • When the shrimps have all been prepped, marinate them with the garlic, red shallots, salt, pepper, chicken bouillon powder and dark soy sauce for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  • Heat up a pan or wok on high heat and pour in the oil. Test to see if the oil is hot enough by putting a wooden utensil (such as a chopstick) into the oil. If it bubbles, add the marinated prawns and sugar in.
    Note: If the oil doesn't bubble, wait for another minute and test again until it does.
  • Cook the shrimp for 10 minutes or until the sugar has caramelized and thickened. Pour the fish sauce in and stir it into the prawns, then cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Add the spring onions and chili in and let it cook for 2 minutes before turning off the heat.
  • Serve immediately with a bowl of hot rice!


  • Add the fish sauce in last. This ensures the savoriness stays light and robust on the shrimp's surface.
  • Cook with the shell on. This may not be everyone's preference, but Tôm Rim is traditionally made with the shell on for a crunch that's full of caramelized savoriness.
  • Marinate the prawns overnight. As with every recipe that requires marinating, this will help to retain the moisture and infuse extra flavor.
  • Different shrimp will have different levels of saltiness. For instance, Australian Tiger Prawns tend to be much saltier than other types. Any shrimps will work for this recipe, just make sure to season accordingly.


Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 210mg | Sodium: 3650mg | Potassium: 252mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 391IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 1mg