Vietnamese Salad with Sweet and Sour Chili Sauce

Most local Chinese restaurant in our city has “Vietnamese Salad” in the appetizer section of their menu. It is a big plate of assorted shredded vegetables with thick chili sauce. The chili sauce is really something and I have always been very fond of this. I came across the recipe from a friend’s of my mother. Vietnamese salad sauce from scratch!

Vegetables used are of three colors: red, white and green. Tomatoes and carrots for red, jicama for white and green beans for green. All vegetables are cut as thinly as possible. The sauce is drizzled generously on top of vegetables. For final touch, sprinkle ground peanuts and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Ingredients for Vietnamese Salad

The sauce refrigerates well. We enjoyed it the next day with our french fries.

Back to the salad, is it really Vietnamese dish? I have no clue.

The sauce is made with fresh chilies and various sugar-based ingredients such as palm sugar, castor sugar and sweet soy sauce. Lime juice and tomato sauce give the sauce the much-needed sourish flavor. Easy and nutritious! Okay, I am not sure about the nutritious part. But it sure is yummy.

Vietnamese Vegetable Salad


Vietnamese Vegetable Salad with Sweet and Sour Chili Sauce

Makes 6-8 servings


10 red chilies
1 clove garlic
4 tbsp cooking oil
4 tbsp lime juice (juice from 2 limes)
1 tbsp palm sugar / gula merah / gula melaka, shaved
3 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
3 tbsp tomato sauce

1/2 cabbage, chopped finely
1/2 carrot, cut into matchstick shape
1 jicama, cut into matchstick shape
1 stalk spring onions, chopped coarsely
100 g french beans, cut finely diagonally

100 g peanuts, fried/roasted and finely ground


Pound chilies and garlic until they form smooth paste in a mortar (or use a small chopper or food processor)

Heat oil in a wok, stir fry chili paste for 3 minutes over medium heat

Add the rest of the ingredients, simmer for 5 minutes till boiling slightly. Remove from heat and let cool

Arrange vegetables in a plate. Sprinkle peanuts on top and pour red sauce generously

Step by Step

Step by Step Chili Sauce for Vietnamese Vegetable Salad

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19 Responses to “Vietnamese Vegetable Salad with Sweet and Sour Chili Sauce”

  1. 1

    noobcook — September 2, 2010 @ 8:03 am

    This salad is new to me and spicy meat sauce looks great. love the colours too.

    • Jun replied: — September 3rd, 2010 @ 7:44 am

      It does look like meat sauce, doesn’t it? I just realised it. It is actually ground peanuts.

  2. 2

    Pepy @Indonesia Eats — September 2, 2010 @ 10:17 am

    Jun, congrats on 50 Sizzling Hot Asian Blogs!!

    I never know any gado-gado Vietnam in Indonesia. Do you think it’s only in Medan?

    • Jun replied: — September 3rd, 2010 @ 7:45 am

      Thank you Pepy! Congrats right back at you!

      I think so … It is very common in Chinese restaurant. I am really sure it isn’t authentic Vietnamese dish either. But I have to admit that it is pretty catchy!

  3. 3

    Beaulotus — September 2, 2010 @ 11:05 am

    Simple and lovely salad, just the mention of jicama and I’m wishing that I could find some here.

    • Jun replied: — September 8th, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

      No jicama in Italy? I am so sorry to hear that! But you can make this with seeded cucumber.

  4. 4

    ravenouscouple — September 2, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

    this looks delicious..would love for you to submit it to delicious vietnam!

    • Jun replied: — September 8th, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

      Thanks for that! I hope it’s alright considering it is not an authentic Vietnamese dish

  5. 5

    Paula — September 3, 2010 @ 9:06 am

    I love the colours of that dish :)

  6. 6

    Rice Palette — September 5, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

    You are an amazing photographer (I may have made this comment already in a previous comment lol).

    This looks very tasty! I love sweet and sour sauces! Definitely want to try this one!

    • Jun replied: — September 8th, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

      Thank you for the kind comment! Please do try. This is really delicious!

  7. 7

    Trudy ~ veggie num num — September 6, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

    Oh! I love these kinds of salads with crisp fresh vegetables, chili sauce and loads of peanuts!! Beautiful recipe and amazing photos!! Looks so good!

    • Jun replied: — September 15th, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

      Thank you!

  8. 8

    Kevin (Closet Cooking) — September 15, 2010 @ 12:53 am

    That looks nice and fresh and tasty!

  9. 9

    Sanjana — February 8, 2011 @ 7:32 am

    SO stunning.

  10. 10

    cleo — April 2, 2012 @ 8:18 am

    I don’t think this is Vietnamese dish. However I like this version of salad :)

    • Jun replied: — April 4th, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

      It is not. But it is labelled that way here.

  11. 11

    Mia — September 6, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

    Definitely not a Vietnamese Dish. Looks tasty though.

    • Jun replied: — September 26th, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

      The name is a nice catch. But yeah, definitely not a Vietnamese dish.

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