There’s a Vietnamese dish that’s called Bun Cha Gio Tom Thit Nuong that has to be one of my favorite traditional Asian dishes of all time. It’s made of rice noodles, lettuce, pickled carrots and cucumbers, egg rolls, BBQ pork and grilled shrimp. It comes with a fish sauce based dressing.
A fish sauce based dressing sounds gross but it’s mixed with water, sugar and sometimes lime juice. Then it’s garnished with mint, cilantro, jalapeno and chopped peanuts. You don’t actually taste the fish sauce at all. It’s like a salad but with noodles and egg rolls. It’s so amazingly delicious.
I really wanted to create a version of it at home. However, there are a lot of components to the dish. You need to make eggrolls, grilled shrimp, bbq pork, and pickled carrots and cucumbers. That would take me all day. I decided to simplify it so that I could easily get dinner on the table and made it more of a traditional salad. I traded the egg rolls, shrimp and pork for simple cooked chicken, omitted the noodles and instead of pickled veggies I used fresh carrots and cucumbers. I saved the lettuce, veggies, fish sauce, mint, cilantro, jalapeno and peanuts. The California girl in me couldn’t resist adding avocados. You get all the Vietnamese flavors that I love from the traditional dish but in a salad that’s so easy to make. It’s nice to have the option to eat your favorite dish (or a version of it) at home when you don’t feel like eating out.
- For the Salad:
- 2 heaping cups cooked Chicken, chopped or shredded
- 4 cups Romaine Lettuce, shredded
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup Carrots, grated or in matchsticks
- 1 cup Persian Cucumbers (they have less seeds), grated or in matchsticks
- ½ cup Fresh Mint, chopped
- ½ cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
- 2 Avocados, chopped into chunks
- 1 Jalapeno, sliced (optional)
- ½ cup Peanuts, chopped (optional)
- For the Dressing:
- ½ cup Rice Vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Chili Garlic Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce (check out my favorite fish sauce brand here)
- ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
- Combine all the ingredients for the salad, except for the jalapeno and peanuts, into a large salad bowl.
- Toss to the salad to combine and then set aside.
- To make the dressing, combine the ingredients in a mason jar.
- Shake the dressing to combine and then pour half over the salad.
- Toss the again to coat the salad with the dressing. Taste the salad and add more if needed.
- Serve the salad with a slice of jalapeno and a tablespoon of peanuts.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #FOODFASHIONANDFUN. I’d love to see what you make!