Ingredient Spotlight

This dish is traditionally made with the Macao home-made variant of shrimp paste "Balichão".  Made from dried shrimp fermented with other ingredients this generally takes up to a month to mature.

For a quick (7 day) variant using Chinese shrimp paste a recipe is available


■ 350g|12oz shell-on shrimps

■ 100g|3.5oz rice vermicelli

■ 30g|1oz ginger peeled

■ 12 cups|2.8L of water

■ 1 bay leaf

■ 2 tablespoons of balichão or shrimp paste

■ 6 tablespoons of finely chopped spring onion.

■ salt and pepper

■ 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil

■ boiling water to scald the vermicelli


1. Peel, de-vein and wash the shrimp. Reserve the shells and heads to make the soup stock. Keep 8 whole shrimps and split the remaining shrimps into 2 cutting from head to tail. Place shrimps in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

2. Peel the ginger and place it in a large saucepan with 12 cups|2.8L of water, add the bay leaf, salt and shrimp shells. Heat the water to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Pass the stock through a strainer to remove the seasoning and shells and reserve the stock.

3. Put the rice vermicelli in a bowl and cover with boiling water, soak for 4-5 minutes agitating with a knife or chopstick from time to time till the strands just separate. Rinse and drain.

4. Heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the shrimp paste and a little of the reserved shrimp stock to the pan, stirring cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat to loosen the paste in the stock, then stir in the remaining stock and bring it to a boil.

5. Add the shrimps and cook for 2-3 minutes until just pink and the soup returns to a boil.

6. Snip the noodles into the soup, make shorter 5-7cm|2-2.5" lengths for a spoon friendly version, longer for chopsticks, and quickly heat the soup through. Garnish with the chopped spring onion.


1 serving (of 6): 203 calories, 8.1g fat (1.3g saturated fat), 148mg cholesterol, 904mg sodium, 18.8g carbohydrates (0.1g sugars, 0.3g fibre), protein 15.5g.

Prep: 10m | Cook: 15m | Serves: 6  | Easy

Macao Shrimp and Vermicelli Soup Recipe

Sopa de Lacassá

Easy Shrimp and Rice Vermicelli Soup

Recipe adapted from "Macanese Cooking: A Journey Across Generations", by Cecília Jorge, published by A.P.I.M, 2004

Rice vermicelli and shrimp soup, serve as a starter or a larger portion as a light meal