Vietnamese Salad Recipe: Goi Ngo Sen (Lotus Stem Salad)
Everyone hears about the freshness and interesting flavors that make Vietnamese food unique and exciting. Especially for those seeking refuge from salads made up of Green Leaf lettuce covered in oil and vinegar with the hope of taking a few pounds off their waste line. Now, I am not promising that Vietnamese Salads don’t have their fair amount of sugar but they are absent in oil.
We will provide a recipe below for a basic Vietnamese salad along with the dressing. This has been tested and is Back of the Bike Tours approved for you to recreate at home for friends and family. Hopefully this recipe will help you think about the possibilities when in the kitchen making a salad at home. Instead of picking up that head of Iceberg or Romaine lettuce through an initial thought process of covering it in a bottled dressing, you will pick up that cabbage, carrot, daikon, pepper, onion, or cucumber in the hopes of creating something new and unique using this recipe below as your blue print for what a fresh and delicious salad can be.
The best Vietnamese salad when going out to eat at a large family style beer restaurant with friends and family for me personally is the Lotus Stem Salad. The crisp provided by the Lotus Stem, the freshness from the herbs, umami from the pork and shrimp, and sweet and sour from the Fish Sauce Dressing make this an incredible side dish to start off with. So when ordering on a night out, I will normally start the feast with this or a similar dish on the menu.
Goi Ngo Sen
Lotus Stem Salad with Shrimp Pork and Fish Sauce Dressing
• 75 grams of cleaned Lotus Stem
• 30 grams or 5 pcs of Sliced, De shelled, Poached Shrimp*
• 25 grams Poached Sliced Pork shoulder, loin, leg or ear*
• 6 Grams -1 tbsp of peanuts
• 6 grams – 2 tsp of shallot/oil*
• 45 ml – 3 tbsp of Fish Sauce Dressing SALAD DRESSING*
• 20 grams Carrot and Daikon Pickles*
• 8 gramsChopped Or Torn Herbs – Mint, Thai basil, Vietnamese Mint, Cilantro
• 4 to 8 Fried Prawn Crackers
Toss the Lotus Stem, Shrimp, Pork, Pickles, and Herbs together in a mixing bowl with ½ of the fish sauce dressing. Taste and adjust the dressing according to your preference.
Plate the salad ingredients, then drizzle a little more fish sauce dressing on top. Place the chopped peanuts and fried shallots on top of the salad.
Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Creates salad for 1 person, so please multiply by the number of people you are looking to feed.
Vietnamese Fish Sauce Salad Dressing
• 60ml – 4 tbsp of water
• 15 grams – 1 tbsp of sugar
• 20ml – 1 tbsp + 1 tsp of fish sauce
• 1 bird chili minced
• 6 grams of Garlic minced about 1 clove
• 15ml – 1 tbsp of lime juice or rice vinegar
Place all ingredients except for chili into small bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Taste and adjust according to your preference for sweet, sour, and heat. Add the chili accordingly.
Creates enough dressing for 1 salad, so please multiply by the number of people you are looking to feed.
• 80 Grams – about 16pcs Peeled Asian Shallots
• 175ml – ¾ cup – Neutral oil – Canola, vegetable, grapeseed etc…
Slice the shallots as thinly as possible.
Place shallots into cold oil and set on a low heat. Watch carefully as the moisture begins to be released from the shallots.
Once browning occurs prepare to remove the shallots immediately using a metal strainer or “spider”.
Set shallots aside to cool and use later for your salad.
This will make enough shallots for 8 salads. You can hold these fried shallots inside of oil for 1 week.
Vietnamese Pickling Liquid Recipe
• 625ml – 2 ½ cups Rice Vinegar
• 440g – 2 Cups Sugar
• 15g – 1tbsp Salt
• 500 grams- Carrots
• 500 grams- Daikon
Place the vinegar, salt, and sugar into a pot over low heat. Let come to a simmer and then turn off the heat. Stir well to help dissolve the sugar and salt into the vinegar.
Once the liquid has cooled to room temperature submerge your Carrots and Daikon in this liquid and let sit for at least 48 hours.
Remove the pickles from the pickling liquid when ready to use. Pickles can be stored inside the pickling liquid for 1 week when refrigerated.
Makes enough pickles for 50 salads. You can feel free to cut this recipe down or have some pickles on hand in your refrigerator for your next Vietnamese inspiration.
Looking to learn more about Vietnamese Food? Please check out more of our blog or our Motorbike Street Food Tours in Saigon.
Wanna let us know how your salad turned out? Please leave a comment below!
I’m a food geek, tourism nut, and online marketing enthusiast who has lived in Vietnam for 8 years. I’m the owner and Director of Back of the Bike Tours who provides quality experiences in Ho Chi Minh City for travellers.