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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Staying Cool with a Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Lately, it seems like 9 out of 10 recipes have been grilling related. It can be somewhat frustrating since I don't even own a grill, although my Le Creuset grill pan has done its job. That finally changed tonight when I found out that we are receiving a brand new grill from my husband's company! In the meantime, let me share with you a refreshing and healthy grilling recipe - the Vietnamese Noodle Salad (also called Bun) with Grilled Chicken.

The trick to making a good Vietnamese noodle salad is to make a really good flavorful sauce. Once you perfect the sauce, it can be used as a dip for spring rolls, salad dressing, marinade... etc. In this recipe, the only difference between the marinade and the sauce is lime juice. Using it just once can prevent an overpowering citrus flavor.

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad (Bun)
This is a versatile dish - enjoy it as an all-in-one dinner or serve it in a smaller portion as an appetizer. It's light and easy to make.

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad

  • 6 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 5 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 tbsp of garlic paste, or minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp of chili oil (or less depending on preference)
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1lb)
  • 2 tbsp of lime juice
  • 3 tbsp of water
  • 5 ounces of rice vermicelli
  • 2 cups of shredded romaine lettuce or cabbage leaves
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup of roasted salted peanuts
  1. Combine 2 tbsp of fish sauce, 1 tbsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of garlic, and 1 tbsp of chili oil in a bowl and stir until the sugar dissolve. Add chicken thighs and coat well.  
  2. In another bowl, combine the remaining fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and chili oil. Add water and lime juice and stir until sugar dissolves.
  3. Boil water in a large pot. Remove from heat, add vermicelli and let stand until vermicelli are tender (about 4-6 minutes). Rinse vermicelli in cold water until cooled. Drain well.
  4. Grill chicken over medium high heat until cooked (about 6 minutes per side). 
  5. On a large plate, first layer cabbage or lettuce, then scatter mint leaves. Top salad with a handful of vermicelli and 2 chicken thighs. Sprinkle roasted peanuts and drizzle with sauce. 
Serves 2-4


  1. Looks like a healthy and refreshing summer meal; almost like a deconstructed spring roll. Nice composition here.

  2. That sauce sounds amazing. Love the components of this salad, especially the mint...it adds such a bright, fresh flavor.

  3. That salad sounds like a perfect summer lunch. Lovely!

  4. wow schmancy salad!!! :D oh i love grilling! it's so much fun. but cleaning up after it can be kind of a chore :T

  5. Oh, my! I want this for my dinner right.now. It sounds so flavorful and delicious...I could eat a big bowl every day for a week and not tire of it...yummy!

  6. Perfect salad for summer! Vermicelli salad is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes - you're right, it's all about the sauce!

  7. Great addition with those peanuts on top! As I am a devoted carnivore, I love any salad that has meat in it :)

  8. Oh this looks like such a wonderful salad! May have to add it to my dinner list for next week =)

  9. Oh.. this is very healthy salad and looks so refreshing. Thanks for sharing :)

  10. Jessica, you are right that is exactly the reason why I am into all kinds of Vietnamese dishes that goes well with summer heat. I am planning to blog other Vietnamese dishes as well near future!

  11. I can't have the fish sauce, but everything else looks amazing! I love my le crueset grill pan as well, but always run to my trusty grill in the summer! Great blog - buzzed it and you!

  12. congrats on your new grill. Can't wait to see what you're going to share with us.
    The salad sounds great!

  13. Oh, you can give that to me to stay cool too!

  14. Those chicken thighs look grilled to perfection! This looks like a great compliment to our Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken for a Vietnamese fiesta. Well done!