Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Goi Ga) (From Rotisserie Chicken)

Chicken Salad
Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Goi Ga) is an easily prepared cabbage salad, made with rotisserie chicken and lots of herbs, topped with peanuts and fried shallots, and dressed with a sweet and tart dressing. I’ve been addicted to this for about 30 years!

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

There is hardly a better summer salad than Goi Ga, better known as Vietnamese chicken salad.

For as long as I’ve been devouring Vietnamese food, I’ve been craving this authentic Vietnamese chicken salad.

I order it winter or summer, but I always order it. Unless of course I make my own.

This is a super simple salad to make and is easily made with store bought rotisserie chicken, which is what I used last night.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad in oriental bowl

Ordinarily poached chicken breasts are used, but not heating up the kitchen has its own rewards; especially when one has a home with just a swamp cooler and no ac.

Not complaining, because in general it works very well. And wouldn’t you know, today’s weather in Denver may as well be fall. Baby, it’s chilly outside!

What’s in Vietnamese Chicken Salad or Goi Ga?

Vietnamese chicken salad is filled with the flavor of herbs.

Mint, basil and cilantro to be exact.

No lettuce greens in this, but crunchy cabbage that I also buy at the grocery in bags labeled angel hair cabbage. I said this salad was easy and I wasn’t joking!

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Throw in some shredded carrots which I guess I could have bought too, but didn’t. I actually shredded them myself!

Using my easy mandoline, I sliced some red onion, chopped some peanuts and took a bag of fried shallots out of the freezer.

I buy these for a few bucks at an Asian market and they thaw almost immediately. They give great flavor and crunch to this salad.

If you don’t have them, feel free to substitute the fried onion rings in a can-just make sure they are in tiny pieces!

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Nuoc Cham

Now let’s look at the dressing. Nuoc Cham is traditionally used, which is a very common dipping sauce in Vietnam.

This is the sauce that Vietnamese egg rolls are dipped into as well as  soft shell crab or anything fried.

It is also a  dressing for this salad and many others. You will love it.

Tasting tart from fresh lime juice and sweet from sugar and sweet chili sauce,  lots of fresh garlic and a touch of chili flakes, I think it was this sauce that made me fall in love with Vietnamese food.

Goi Ga

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is a main ingredient of nuoc cham and it’s also the salty element of the sauce. Kind of like soy sauce is to Japanese or Chinese cuisine, fish sauce is to Vietnamese.

There are many varieties of fish sauce and just like  any food, some are better than others.

If you are new to fish sauce make sure to buy fish sauce from the country your recipe hails from. In other words I find Thai fish sauce tastes different than Vietnamese fish sauce. 

Every country seems to have its own nuance and that comes to all products I buy. 

I prefer 3 Crabs and many like Red Boat.

If I were to choose my favorite ethnic food, Vietnamese would be it, without a doubt.

Shrimp Chips

Shrimp Chips (How To Cook Them)

I love serving this traditional Vietnamese chicken salad with shrimp chips, just as they do in the restaurant we visit. For some reason I had a hard time finding them in the Asian market.

They didn’t seem to be anywhere where I was looking. 

Finally Alex picked up 5 boxes in Vietnam and brought them home to me. Turns out they are sold in small boxes, and are not fried. It is you that does the frying!

However I have figured out a way to avoid that. Just spray the chips with cooking spray, place on a paper plate, cover with another paper plate and heat for 45 seconds. 

These made wonderful, airy, crispy chips. And no muss, no fuss!

He came home with cuttlefish,  shrimp and fish chips-you name it! To be honest, I hate frying so I thought I would try them in the microwave. I did this with poppadoms once and it worked!

Shrimp chips don’t really taste like shrimp. Well, I didn’t notice. But the crisp texture really adds to the dish. And after they sit soaking in the sauce, they are so good!

Perfect to place a few bites of chicken salad on! I did try weighting them to see if they would come out flat, but they still formed a cute little cup. If you can find them, try them. Kind of like a Vietnamese tortilla chip!

I did find a new brand (Sa Giang) since writing this post in 2017 that cook up really well. I will use these from now on!

Chicken Salad Vietnamese Style

If you’ve never tried Vietnamese food, what’s stopping you?

I must admit to not being a lover of pho which seems to be competing with ramen lately. I do love a chicken pho, but the beef escapes me. Perhaps it is because I don’t eat beef?

Love the noodles though! And if pho is all you know, you are off to a good start.

But then again there are banh mi’s, which are starting to appear everywhere. These Vietnamese sandwiches on French baguettes filled with pickled veggies, jalapenos and cilantro can be found stuffed with everything from pate to grilled pork and chicken.

We find them for about $4 and feel like we are robbing someone! Check out a good Vietnamese restaurant. You won’t be disappointed!

And if there are not any around you, I have some of my favorites listed below!

Vietnamese Chicken Salad
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This is an updated post from 2017.
 
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Goi Ga

Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Goi Ga)

  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 25 Minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2-3 Servings 1x
  • Category: Salads/Mains
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese

Description

Vietnamese Chicken Salad or “Goi Ga” is an easily prepared cabbage salad, made with rotisserie chicken and lots of herbs, topped with peanuts and fried shallots, and dressed with a sweet and tart spicy dressing.


Ingredients

Scale

1 bag Angel Hair Cole Slaw or about 34 c shredded cabbage

2 carrots-shredded (I prefer to grate my own rather than using the bagged. They are sweeter and more moist this way.)

1/2 of a Bermuda onion sliced very thin

1/4 c chopped cilantro

1/4 c small mint leaves

1/4 c fresh basil leaves (If you have Thai basil, so much the better!)

Rotisserie Chicken (I used both breasts and tore them into shreds. No chopping!)

4 T coarsely chopped peanuts

3 T fried shallots

Nuoc Cham

1/4 c freshly squeezed lime juice

12 minced garlic cloves

3 T fish sauce (I use Three Crabs. There is a huge taste difference from one brand to another.)

4 T water

4 T sugar

1/4 t red chili flakes

1 T sweet chili sauce (Mae Ploy)

Shrimp Chips (I prefer 3 Ladies)


Instructions

Make the Nuoc Cham. Combine all ingredients and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots, onion, and half of the cilantro, mint and basil. Top with torn chicken and sprinkle with the rest of the herbs, peanuts and shallots.

I serve the nuoc cham separately so that each diner can dress the salad the way they prefer. I also serve this with fried shrimp chips as they do in the restaurant we visit. Pile a big bite of salad on each shrimp chip, add a spoonful of nuoc cham and eat! (See above)


Keywords: Vietnamese Chicken Salad, Recipe for Vietnamese Chicken Salad, Vietnamese Chicken Salad Recipe, Vietnamese Chicken Salad Dressing, Goi Ga, Vietnamese Chicken Salad Cabbage, Authentic Vietnamese Chicken Salad, Traditional Vietnamese Chicken Salad, Rotisserie Chicken Salad

 

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    The-FoodTrotter
    May 25, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    I haven’t been there for ages and I regret it so much, I missed so many mouthwatering recipes ^^ This salad looks so fresh and crunchy I need to do it ASAP ^^

  • Reply
    La Table De Nana
    August 8, 2017 at 11:54 am

    I would love this..I think I have NH sauce in the fridge..bought.
    Thanks!

  • Reply
    mjskit
    August 8, 2017 at 2:32 am

    This recipe certainly takes the boredom out of chicken salad! Thanks for introducing a new flavor for an old standby. Looks yummy!

  • Reply
    lisa is cooking
    August 7, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    I love all the flavors in this salad! I've made a similar salad, but it's been way too long. Can't wait to make it again.

  • Reply
    Bacon Fatte
    August 7, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    I'm dying to taste this… It all sounds so fresh and delicious!

  • Reply
    Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen
    August 7, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    I've never heard of goi ga, much less eaten it, but I need to remedy that! This sounds completely addictive. PS, I'll send some Phoenix heat your way, if you're interested 🙂

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      August 8, 2017 at 12:40 am

      You do need to remedy that. My mom always comes here for Vietnamese. Says it is hard to find in Phoenix. Do you know?

  • Reply
    Sharon D
    August 6, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    You're so innovative, Abbe. I didn't know we could do that with popadums and shrimp chips! Sure learned something new today. ^.^
    This is a gorgeous salad and oh-so-delicious ..the kind I don't mind having regularly.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      August 8, 2017 at 12:39 am

      Thanks Sharon! It actually worked quite well! I was so happy.

  • Reply
    HWC Magazine
    August 5, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    This is so delicious! We could eat this every day! Simple, easy and a snap to throw together… Win-win!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      August 5, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      I could eat this every day, too! And the nuoc cham keep for a long time in the fridge!

  • Reply
    In Good Flavor
    August 5, 2017 at 12:38 am

    I'm getting so hungry looking at this! It looks gorgeous!! I'm Vietnamese and used to have this salad often growing up. With an American husband who avoids vegetables but loves his meat, cheese, and potatoes, I don't make Vietnamese food nearly as often as I would like. And shrimp chips! LOVE the shrimp chips!! But some brands taste like you're eating paper and others are so good!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      August 5, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      Thanks so much. You really need to get your husband eating Vietnamese. It is addicting. My husband loves this salad-I think because he loves the crunchy shrimp chips. Ours were a touch peppery which made them doubly delicious!This salad is great to keep on hand. Wait to dress it at the table and throw the peanuts and shallots on last. That way you can always have a bag in the fridge ready to eat!

  • Reply
    Tricia Buice
    August 4, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    P.S. How do you fry your shallots?

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      August 5, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      There are two ways-though I admit to buying mine in bags from the freezer section of the Asian market. Chop up the shallots and dust them with flour. Saute them in a few tablespoons of oil. They crisp up really fast. You can then use that oil for something else. You can also slice the shallots and then saute them until crisp in oil which will make them crisp. Either way-and like I said the fried onion rings in the can or the ones in the bag in the salad section work well, too! Thanks Tricia!

  • Reply
    Tricia Buice
    August 4, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    We don't have very many good Asian restaurants in our area – we're just a small bedroom community so we have to travel north to DC or south to Richmond for the good stuff. But not now! I can make my own with this lovely recipe. Thanks for the recommendation for fish sauce – I never know which one to buy. I remember the swamp coolers and whole house fans when I lived in Littleton, Aurora and Englewood. The humidity here is crazy this week – yuck! Those shrimp chips are fascinating – a must try!

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    August 4, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    I've not seen the shredded angel-hair cabbage! Now on my list of things to look for 😉 I would love this crunchy, delicious salad any time. I can see how it would be very addictive!

  • Reply
    mimi rippee
    August 4, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Gorgeous! Wish I had all of the ingredients for this now. I use Red Boat fish sauce. Do you have an opinion on it?

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      August 8, 2017 at 12:38 am

      Red Boat is great. I buy Three Crabs only because it is usually a bit cheaper! Both are super! Thanks Mimi!

  • Reply
    Liz Berg
    August 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    This looks like my dream salad! Why have I never eaten one before???? Can't wait to give it a try. xo

  • Reply
    Angie Schneider
    August 4, 2017 at 4:24 am

    Oh..I want this so badly! Looks so crunchy and delicious!

  • Reply
    Kitchen Riffs
    August 4, 2017 at 2:17 am

    Vietnamese food is really good! And something I almost never cook for some reason — we always go to a restaurant when we're craving it. I should start — it not difficult at all. This dish especially — really flavorful and nice. Thanks!

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