Monday, January 19, 2009

Banh Phong Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Chips)

Banh Phong Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Chips) 1

Not a recipe post but an FYI for people who aren't familiar with shrimp chips. Hmm. Who doesn't know what these are?

OK, you caught me. It's a lazy post.

Anyway, the shrimp chips above came from frying these poker-like chips below.

Banh Phong Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Chips) 2

Banh phong tom (Vietnamese shrimp chips or prawn crackers), or krupuk in Indonesian, whatever you call them, are made from a mixture of shrimp and starch. If you are adventurous, you can make your own like Sijeleng of Javaholic, who made krupuk udang (Indonesian prawn crackers). From scratch!

Otherwise, look for similar packages below. Shrimp chips come round or square. I haven't really found a favorite brand as they more or less taste the same to me. Actually, my favorite isn't a brand but a version my youngest aunt gets from Vietnam. They're large and rectangular with whole peppercorns. If you have a favorite, do let me know!

Banh Phong Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Chips) 3

They do look like poker chips, don't they?

Banh Phong Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Chips) 4

Heat a wok with oil to medium-high heat. Drop the shrimp chips in and they'll fry up quickly. If they're not unfolding quickly, they've gone stale so just discard. You can almost see them forming with my photos below.

Banh Phong Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Chips) 5

Banh Phong Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Chips) 6

Banh Phong Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Chips) 7

Shrimp chips!

Banh Phong Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Chips) 8

They literally fry up in seconds as you can see in the YouTube video below.

And I was just lame enough to do two videos and two versions - color and white. Ha!

Banh Phong Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Chips) 10

Banh Phong Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Chips) 11

Banh Phong Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Chips) 12

Banh Phong Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Chips) 13

Here's the white shrimp chips YouTube video.

Banh phong tom are great as a snack, or to scoop up Vietnamese salads. How do you like to eat shrimp chips?

Some Vietnamese salads to enjoy with the shrimp chips:
Goi Bi Soi Tom Thit Heo (Vietnamese Spaghetti Squash Salad with Shrimp and Pork)


  1. Addictive stuff!! Do you know it tastes even better dipping it into those bottled garlic chili sauce? My mum used to dry it under the sun, she said that would make it even crispier.

  2. I wasn't expecting them to be so colorful!

  3. I just made a bunch 2 days ago! :D my family-in-law likes them so much! :)

  4. hi WC - i used to love these as a kid. my mom would buy a box of the chips at woo chee chong (a now defunct asian market in san diego). they reminded me of shrinky dinks! i love how they puff up when the chips hit the hot oil. i haven't eaten one in awhile...we would eat them plain. now, if i had the chance to eat these again, they would be handy as salad scoops (as you mentioned in your post).

  5. I know what shrimp chips are but I've never see them yet before they are fried. Quite shocking to see how much they change!

    And I am also shocked at the color before they are fried. They look like candy :).

  6. wow! these are really thick compared to the ones i normally eat! yummm. i love the colored ones the most even though they taste the same as the white. they're just more fun to eat! hehe.

  7. i love eating them plain but we just don't fry them at home but once in a blue moon. so i just gotta eat the already done stuff or stuff myself when i see someone else making them...heheheh

  8. I didn't know the colours were so eerie before frying...

  9. I love frying banh phong tom - it makes me cackle like a crazed woman perching over a vat of boiling oil. Oh, wait - that's exactly what I am when I'm doing it :-)

    Love the colourful ones!

  10. I may be a little prejudiced, but I prefer Indonesian shrimp crackers. They tend to have a higher ratio of shrimp to tapioca flour. The best Indonesian ones are made in Sidoarjo, just outside of Surabaya in East Java. Ny. Siok and Finna brands are both top quality.

    Frying them is fun, like watching those sponges in a capsule blossom in water.

  11. Love the colored ones, the white ones, and the actual shrimp ones. We either fry them up ourselves or just enjoy them when they come with roast duck. YUM!

  12. oh my heavens! this post brought me back to my childhood. I remember having these! Awesome!

  13. Ivy,
    I've dipped shrimp chips into many things. Yum!

    I generally prefer the plain white ones myself. Less additives. But colors are pretty.

    Cooking Practice,
    They fun to snack on!

    Chance? That's easy enough to remedy. Just go to the store and buy some. :P

    Really? I thought everyone knew what they looked like.

    Oh, I've never seen really thin ones. I've seen bigger sizes, but generally the thickness has been about the same.

    I find the already-made ones oilier and less crispy. Or maybe that's just the batches I've tried.

    They are awfully colorful, aren't they?

    I can just imagine you rubbing your hands in glee. Haha.

    I've eaten many really good Indonesian shrimp crackers so you'll get no argument from me. Thanks for the brand recommendations. I'll have to try and remember them when I'm at the store.

    Ooh, with roast duck. I had forgotten how much I like that.

    I ate these a lot more as a kid too.

    Isn't it? I still enjoy watching them puff up even now.

  14. These are great with tuna tartare!

  15. Did you know you can microwave these and they puff up just as if they were fried? You need to be close by because if left alone they may scorch or burn. But generally about 15-25ish seconds on high and you have a plate full of prawn chips without the mess and fuss of oil! Lower calories too! w00t!

  16. Grumblebee,
    You can microwave rice paper too, but my microwave is really old so it doesn't cook things evenly.


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