Noodle Wraps

This Vietnamese-style dish lets kids assemble and wrap their own meal. Fish sauce, as common as salt in places like Vietnam and Thailand (and available in most large supermarkets), has a strong smell on its own, but makes a sublime condiment when mixed with lime juice and sugar.


  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, cleaned and shelled (or 2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes; or a cup of extra-firm tofu, cubed)

  • 1 Tbsp. minced ginger

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp. sesame oil

  • 1 head Boston lettuce, washed and dried, leaves left whole

  • Basil and/or mint leaves, washed and dried

  • Noodles:

  • 1/3 cup lime juice (about 2 to 3 limes)

  • 1/3 cup sugar (palm sugar or raw sugar, if possible)

  • 1/3 cup fish sauce

  • Rice or bean thread noodles, cooked according to package directions, rinsed and drained

  • 1 Tbsp. oil

  • Optional:

  • Tiny chili peppers, chopped

  • Shredded carrots

  • Snap peas


  1. Marinate the shrimp (or chicken or tofu) in the ginger, garlic and sesame oil for about 15 minutes.

  2. Mix the lime juice, sugar and fish sauce. Toss with the noodles.

  3. Grill the shrimp on high heat, or heat the oil in a medium frying pan over high heat, and sauté. (Sauté the chicken or tofu, if using.)

  4. Set the table: lay out, in separate bowls or plates, the noodles, the shrimp (or chicken or tofu), the lettuce leaves, and the shredded carrots, or snap peas, if using.

  5. To eat, take a lettuce leaf, and add noodles, shrimp and vegetables. Be sure to put on a basil or mint leaf. Roll up lettuce leaf tightly. Keep lots of napkins on hand!

Spicing It Up: To make a spicy condiment for parents, mix finely chopped chili peppers with equal parts fish sauce and lime juice. Grown-ups can spoon a small amount into their noodle wraps. Stored in a jar in the refrigerator, this spicy condiment will keep for months, and will mellow as it ages.

Larissa Phillips is the contributing food editor for United Parenting Publications.

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