500BestSquareShrimp On Sugar Cane @ Hoa Hong 9 (Nine Roses)

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One of the most popular of Vietnamese appetizers is shrimp paste formed around a short stick of sugar cane. The Vietnamesse name for it is chao tom. The paste is made with pounded or processed shrimp meat with egg, garlic, cornstarch and seasonings. The chao toms are then steamed until the shrimp tightens up and cooks fully. The canes are later grilled to order and served with nuoc cham as a dipping sauce. Hoa Hong 9 Roses was the first restaurant were I had this. The function of the sugar cane is unclear; you don’t eat it, and if any sweetness comes through it’s lost in me. I think they just found it handy.

Hoa Hong 9 (Nine Roses). Gretna: 1100 Stephens. 504-366-7665.

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