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Vietnamese Chicken Vermicelli Salad

Adapted from Fine Cooking
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins


_For the chicken:_

  • 2 chicken breasts pounded thin
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 shallots minced
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

_For the Nuoc Cham:_

  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • ¼ cup lime juice juice of about 3 limes
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 red thai chili- cored seeded, and sliced thin
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tablespoon shredded cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon shredded carrot

_For the salad:_

  • 8 oz dried rice vermicelli
  • ½ of a head of red or green leaf lettuce sliced thin
  • 1 cucumber peeled, de-seeded, and shredded
  • 1 carrot shredded
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts chopped
  • Cilantro to taste
  • Mint leaves to taste


To prepare the Chicken Marinade

  • In a small saucepan combine sugar and ½ cup water. In the microwave or stove-top, heat another 1/3 cup of water and set aside.
  • Heat saucepan with sugar over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Then, stop stirring and allow mixture to boil, untouched, for about 10-12 minutes, until mixture turns a deep golden brown.
  • Turn off the heat and pour in the additional hot water- do this very quickly and carefully so that you do not burn yourself. Mixture will sputter and bubble up a bit and then settle down.
  • Stir until caramel becomes liquid-y. Set mixture aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile prepare a second bowl with shallots, soy sauce, fish sauce, and olive oil. When caramel sauce is cool to the touch, add the caramel sauce to the shallot mixture.
  • In marinating dish (or ziplock) add chicken and pour marinade over the meat.
  • Marinate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

To prepare the noodles:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add vermicelli and boil per package instructions; mine took 5 minutes. Drain into a colander and run cold water over the noodles until they are cool to the touch. Set aside to drain while you prepare your remaining ingredients.

To prepare the Nuoc Cham:

  • Combine water, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, vinegar, garlic, thai chili, shredded cucumber, and shredded carrot. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside.

To grill the Chicken:

  • Brush a grill pan with vegetable oil and bring to high heat.
  • Remove chicken from marinade and blot with paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  • Grill for about 3-4 minutes per side or until chicken is completely cooked through.
  • Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

To serve:

  • Prepare the noodle bowls by distributing a handful of lettuce, ¼ portion of noodles, and top with shredded carrot, cucumber, chopped peanuts, mint, and cilantro to taste.
  • Top salads with sliced grilled chicken.
  • Separate the Nuoc Cham into 4 portions for serving. Pour sauce over salad and mix immediately prior to eating.
  • Makes 4 noodle bowls.