MODS is a novel liquid culture based technique that has been shown to be effective and rapid for early diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). We evaluated the MODS assay for diagnosis of TB in children in Viet Nam. 217 consecutive samples including sputum (n = 132), gastric fluid (n = 50), CSF (n = 32) and pleural fluid (n = 3) collected from 96 children with suspected TB, were tested by smear, MODS and MGIT. When test results were aggregated by patient, the sensitivity and specificity of smear, MGIT and MODS against "clinical diagnosis" (confirmed and probable groups) as the gold standard were 28.2% and 100%, 42.3% and 100%, 39.7% and 94.4%, respectively. The sensitivity of MGIT and MODS was not significantly different in this analysis (P = 0.5), but MGIT was more sensitive than MODS when analysed on the sample level using a marginal model (P = 0.03). The median time to detection of MODS and MGIT were 8 days and 13 days, respectively, and the time to detection was significantly shorter for MODS in samples where both tests were positive (P<0.001). An analysis of time-dependent sensitivity showed that the detection rates were significantly higher for MODS than for MGIT by day 7 or day 14 (P<0.001 and P = 0.04), respectively. MODS is a rapid and sensitive alternative method for the isolation of M.tuberculosis from children.