Simple Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Dressing

A simple chicken salad with the popular Vietnamese nuoc mam dressing that is both colourful and delicious. The salad is super easy to prepare and makes a perfect light and healthy meal for yourself or the family!

Before I get into this post, I want to share something happening in my personal life. There are a few days each month where I have to walk to Maddy’s daycare to pick her up. The first time I had to do this Steph thought it would only take me 10 minutes, but it took 25 and I was sweating bullets from carrying Maddy in my arms all the way home!

Steph’s next great idea was “Why don’t you take the stroller?” That put me in a precarious situation where I was pushing an empty stroller for half of the trip. Most of the locals took one look at the empty stroller and probably had to fight the urge to call the police. This is only a guess since I avoid eye contact with anyone at all costs!

Then I figured I could just fold it up and carry it with me. I lasted a quarter of the trip and then ended up reliving my nightmare by pushing it the rest of the way. So now I am in a predicament. To stroller… or not to stroller? I know I am going to suffer but which one is worse? What do you think?

The Chicken Salad

A few weeks back, I was in the process of writing up a post for traditional Vietnamese cabbage salad, until I was introduced to something that was much more colourful. I was so overcome by how much prettier the salad was that I decided to fuse them together and create my own salad.

I originally used pork belly in this because it tastes so good but in the end chose to go with chicken breast. It is just so much cheaper and a LOT better for your health. However, if you like to live a little from time to time then I strongly suggest you give it a go.

I highly recommend adding Vietnamese mint into this recipe. It really elevates the dish but it is a little hard to get. In Australia, you will usually find them at Asian groceries and sometimes at mainstream supermarkets. If you have the time and the patience, it is well worth the effort.

My Tips for Success

  1. If you have leftover fresh vegetables that need using up, throw them in.
  2. Thinly sliced boiled pork belly rashers are a fantastic substitute for chicken.
  3. Drying off your vegetables is very important to maintain the intensity of the dressing. I am one of those people who would spin dry vegetables but honestly just patting them dry is fine.
  4. If you do not like pieces of raw garlic, then squash the garlic with a knife and then add it whole to the dressing. Leave in until ready to serve.
  5. I strongly suggest keeping the dressing covered before serving. This will stop the house smelling of the ever fragrant FISH SAUCE!

Recipe Cost

This table shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).

We haven’t bothered with small quantities of salt, pepper or sugar as the cost would be negligible. All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online or Woolworths Online as at time of writing.

Servings: 2 – 3

Recipe NeedsRecipe
4 pack @ $9/kg$9.001 (250 gm)$2.25
Baby Cos
2 pack$3.00125 gm$0.75
Carrot1 at $2.20/kg$0.371/2 (80 gm)$0.18
Cabbage1/2 a head$2.70100 gm$0.20
Bean Sprouts1 pack (250 gm)$2.00100 gm$0.40
Garlic1 bulb at $25/kg$1.501 clove$0.15
Fish sauce300 ml bottle$3.003 tbsp (45 ml)$0.45
2 L bottle$1.201 tsp (5 ml)$0.01
Lime Juice2 at $0.80 each$1.602 tbsp (1 and a half)$1.20
Total$24.37 $5.59

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Simple Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Dressing

Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Dressing

Course Light Meal
Cuisine Fusion
Keyword Chicken Salad, Nuoc Mam
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 – 3 people
Author Scruff


  • 1 chicken breast
  • crispy noodles (optional)

Salad Mix

  • 100 gm cos lettuce or your choice, roughly chopped
  • 100 gm carrot, grated or cut into matchsticks
  • 100 gm purple cabbage, shredded
  • 100 gm bean sprouts
  • 10 Vietnamese mint leaves, torn (highly recommended but optional)
  • 10 Thai basil leaves, torn (optional)


  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped (optional)


  1. In a pot, boil plenty of water and cook the chicken breast for roughly 20 minutes.

  2. In a bowl, add the hot water and sugar. With a spoon, dissolve as much sugar as possible.

  3. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and combine well. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave aside until needed

  4. Cut up all your vegetables and pat dry with a kitchen towel.

  5. After 20 minutes, take out the chicken and check if its done. If it is, let the chicken cool and then cut into small pieces. If not, then put it back into the water until done.

  6. Once the chicken is cut up into pieces, add 2 tbsp of dressing into the chicken and gently toss.

  7. In a salad bowl, mix all the salad ingredients and chicken pieces together.

  8. Add a 3 tbsp of dressing and toss through. Check the seasoning and add more dressing according to your taste.

  9. Garnish with crispy fried noodles.

4 thoughts on “Simple Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Dressing

      1. Good news 😄 I’m glad it worked…although you may have to explain if someone sees you take the muslin off and no baby 😂 I had the worst glass noodle salad I’ve ever had in my life today 😭 it was swimming in this weird gravy that tasted like calpol! I’m still feeling sick thinking of it. I may have to rethink my menu for the weekend to remind myself what it should taste like!

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