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Photo: Marcus Nilsson; Styling: Tiziana Agnello Photo by: Photo: Marcus Nilsson; Styling: Tiziana Agnello

Vietnamese Salt and Pepper Shrimp Rice Noodle Bowl (Bun Tom Xao)

Expect the noodles to clump and stick after they're cooked. Recipe author ­Andrea Nguyen devised a great trick to prevent them from sticking too much: Put an inverted small bowl in the bottom of the colander for the noodles to drape over.

Cooking Light MARCH 2013

  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Hands-on: 45 Minutes
  • Total: 45 Minutes


  • 5 ounces uncooked rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 5 teaspoons fish sauce (such as Three Crabs)
  • 2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups (1/4-inch) slices green leaf lettuce
  • 3 cups diagonally cut slices seeded Kirby (pickling) cucumber (about 2)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup torn Thai basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup torn mint leaves
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup (1/4-inch) slices green onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped


1. Cook rice vermicelli noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain.

2. Combine 1/2 cup lukewarm water and granulated sugar in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add lime juice, vinegar, fish sauce, and chiles; set aside.

3. Combine lettuce, cucumber, and herbs; set aside.

4. Combine cornstarch, brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; stir until well combined. Add shrimp; toss to coat. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, and swirl to coat. Add half of shrimp; cook for 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until shrimp are seared. Remove from pan. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to wok; repeat procedure with remaining shrimp. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to wok; swirl to coat. Add onions and garlic; stir-fry 30 seconds. Return shrimp to pan; stir-fry 1 minute.

5. Arrange about 1 cup lettuce mixture in each of 4 large bowls, and top each serving with about 1 cup noodles and 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts. Divide the shrimp evenly among servings, and serve each with 1/4 cup sauce.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 462
  • Fat: 17.6g
  • Saturated fat: 1.9g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 9g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 5.1g
  • Protein: 24.6g
  • Carbohydrate: 52.9g
  • Fiber: 4.4g
  • Cholesterol: 143mg
  • Iron: 3.2mg
  • Sodium: 802mg
  • Calcium: 146mg

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Vietnamese Salt and Pepper Shrimp Rice Noodle Bowl (Bun Tom Xao) Recipe