Easy Vietnamese chicken salad

Saigon Sally is one of Melbourne’s hottest bustling Asian diners, featuring fresh Vietnamese recipes with a five star spin.

Chef Adrian Li started his career at seaside institution Donovans before joining the hip backstreet sibling of pho house Hanoi Hannah.


He shares his recipe for the restaurant’s most popular dish, Vietnamese chicken salad, step by step.

“Vietnamese coleslaw (also known as Goi Ga) is a very traditional dish with variations in every region of Vietnam,” Li says. “It’s an easy dish that everyone can make, with no additional seasoning required.” 

1. Get pickling

First you need to quickly pickle 50 gm of julienne carrot, 50 gm of julianne daicon, 50 gm julienne cucumber.

pickles 2

In a small pot add 200 ml of white vinegar and 100 gm sugar together heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Pour the liquid over the carrot and daikon and place in fridge till cool.

2. Start chopping

This salad is all about fresh herbs. You’ll need to prepare the following:


10 gm coriander
10 gm mint
10 gm Vietnamese mint
10 gm Perilla, an aromatic herb common in Asian cooking
10 gm Thai basil
10 gm red chilli
50 gm whole roasted peanuts
20 gm fried shallots

3. Poach the chook

Add 1 ltr of water and one jar of Lee Kum Kee black bean sauce into a medium sized pot.

black-beanBring poaching liquid to the boil. Reduce heat to a light simmer and place 200 gram chicken breast in the pot.

Cook for 10-15 minutes, drain from the stock and refrigerate.

Once cooled, thinly slice the breast and set aside.

4. Make the dressing

Nuoc Nam dressing is the tangy and vibrant sauce that brings the whole dish together.

You’ll need:

80ml water
5 lemons, juiced
50ml fish sauce
90gm sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 chilli, finely chopped


Place sugar and wet ingredients into a pot and dissolve the sugar. Add minced garlic and chopped chilli and set aside to infuse.

5. Fry the noodles

Heat vegetable oil to 180+ degrees. Drop 30 gm of glass vermicelli noodles into the pot watch them puff up.

Remove and placed the crisp vermicelli on to paper towel to drain excess oil.

6. Bring it all together

everythingRemove the pickled carrot and daikon from the liquid and place into a non-reactive bowl. Add cucumber, herbs, shallots and and finally chicken.

hand-maxingDress the salad with the Nuoc Nam dressing and mix well with your hands.


In a serving bowl, place the vermicelli on the bottom and slowly stack the coleslaw to gain maximum height and dramatic effect.


Serve, and eat!

Try Chef Li’s version at Saigon Sally, 2 Duke Street, Windsor, VIC.

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