Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Spicy and savory, this salad is delicious with shredded chicken and cabbage and hints of basil and mint in every bite. Vietnamese Chicken Salad is perfect as a meal for an individual or as a starter to any dish.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

I wanted to share a Vietnamese dish with you today. I grew up eating Vietnamese salads similar to this one. Asian salads tend to be very savory because of the addition of fish sauce. This salad is no different. Traditional Vietnamese Chicken Salad, called Goi Ga in Vietnamese, usually includes thinly sliced cabbage, sliced chili peppers, shredded chicken, torn mint and basil, and sometimes carrots and onions. These salads are usually topped with crushed peanuts and drizzled with fish sauce and lemon or lime juice.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

This chicken salad is savory with the flavor of fish sauce and citrusy with the juice of a lemon. The basil and mint give the salad a very refreshing taste. And if you love spicy, as I do, add sliced chili peppers. With just one simple dish, you get so many flavors.

My version of the salad has slightly different ingredients but the same flavors. I hope that you will enjoy this dish as much as I do.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

First, wash several leaves of cabbage. Either allow the leaves to dry first, or you can dry them off with a paper towel. Now, cut the cabbage into thin slices. It’s really up to you how thin you want the cabbage to be. I like mine a little thicker, but most restaurants slice the cabbage into fine slices. The easiest way to do this? Stack the cabbage leaves one on top of each other and slice them. That way, you only have to do it once. Make sure to slice the white spine part of the cabbage finely, otherwise it will hard. Or you can leave it out.

Obviously, I didn’t do a perfect job cutting my cabbage. =)


Place the sliced cabbage into a medium to large size bowl. You want to have enough room to mix the ingredients later.

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the cabbage. Thoroughly mix so that the lemon juice covers the cabbage. I used my hands to do the mixing and to sort of “massage” (for a lack of a better word) the cabbage. The lemon juice adds flavor to the cabbage and helps soften it, especially the hard spine.

Don’t forget to remove the seeds before you do the squeezing!


Drizzle in the fish sauce and the sugar. Make sure that you’re careful when you’re using fish sauce. It’s one of those ingredients that smells awful but tastes good. Kind of like durian… Have you had that?

Anyways, try not to spill the fish sauce. It’ll smell. I added sugar because it helps balance out the strong salty taste of fish sauce.

Side note: For those of you who are looking for a gluten free recipe, technically this is one. There are fish sauces out there that don’t have wheat products in their sauce, you just have to look for them. Just make sure to check the ingredients before purchasing. =)

Thoroughly mix the cabbage so that fish sauce and sugar are evenly incorporated in the cabbage.

Chop up some mint and add it into the salad.


Chop up some basil and add it.


Add in shredded chicken. I used leftover chicken.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

Chop up tomatoes and add it to the salad. Tomatoes aren’t usually used in Vietnamese salads but I wanted to add some extra color. Plus, I love tomatoes.

Mix all the ingredients together.

Let the salad chill in the refrigerator for at least half an hour so that the flavors can marinade.

You can serve this dish as a single serving as a meal for an individual or you can divide it into two portions as a start or a side.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

Top the salad with sliced almonds or crushed peanuts and sliced chili peppers.

Serve the salad cold. Enjoy!

Vietnamese Chicken Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

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Vietnamese Chicken Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower


  1. Luka says:

    This was wonderful. I doubled it and it seemed a bit hot so I added a touch more of brown sugar. Next time I will use 1/4 less teaspoon of the red pepper, but if you like it spicey – it’s perfect as is! I will make this every month as it is very quick and easy.

  2. superpadrelife says:

    I made this yesterday and it was awesome! I had to make several substitutions as I didn’t have enough cabbage (I supplemented with thinly sliced celery and carrot) and I forgot to buy basil (I used cilantro instead). Also, my husband is allergic to citrus so I tried rice wine vinegar instead. It was delicious, although I look forward to trying the recipe as you provided it. 🙂 keep these yummy recipes coming!

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