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bowl with cabbage, mint, cilantro, shredded chicken and red pepper, peanut garnished

Authentic Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Goi Ga)

Crunchy, tangy, slightly spicy and full of umami flavor. Made with shredded chicken, sliced cabbage, fresh cilantro and mint leaves. Tossed with fish sauce dressing, pickled onions and toasted crushed peanuts.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 4 people
Calories 127 kcal


  • mandoline


Vietnamese Chicken Salad

  • 12 ounces cabbage or 1 small cabbage (red, green, or a mix)
  • ¼ cup mint leaves loosely packed
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves loosely packed
  • 2 bone-in chicken legs approximately 12 ounces
  • handful of toasted, crushed peanuts

Pickled Red Onions

  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Nuoc Mam Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ½ cup warm/hot water
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic or 2 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
  • optional diced thai chili


Pickled onions

  • Make the pickled onions first. Thinly slice half a red onion.
  • Pour warm water into a shallow bowl with sugar. Stir the sugar until dissolved.
  • Add the rice vinegar, mix and then add red onion slices. Make sure onions are submerged into the vinegar and water mixture. Set aside.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Goi Ga)

  • Bring a pot to a boil and add the chicken. Bring heat to medium and boil chicken uncovered for 20-25 minutes (or until internal temperature reads 165 degrees F). Prep the salad and nuoc mam. When the chicken is done cooking, leave it in the pot until salad prep is done.
  • Thinly slice the cabbage to about ⅛" (or slightly thinner) using a mandoline. If you do not have a mandoline, slice the cabbage as thin as you can with a sharp knife. Place cabbage in a salad bowl.
  • Wash and de-stem the mint and cilantro leaves. Shred by hand or roughly chop them. Add to the bowl of sliced cabbage.
  • Toasting the peanuts. De-shell the peanuts. Heat a pan on medium. When it’s hot, add the peanuts with skin on, stir frequently. Take it off the heat once toasted evenly. When cool, lightly rub the peanuts between your fingers to remove the skin. Use a rolling pin to crush peanuts. Set aside.

Fish Sauce (Nuoc Mam) Dressing

  • Add warm water to a bowl. Add sugar and mix until dissolved.
  • Stir in fish sauce, garlic and lime juice.
  • Add in Thai chili for spice, a little bit at a time.

Mix the salad

  • De-skin and shred the chicken with a fork into bite-size pieces.
  • Add the chicken to the cabbage bowl and mix together.
  • Add fish sauce dressing to taste. Garnish with the pickled red onions and crushed peanuts.
  • Optional: add more Thai chili pepper for more spice. Be careful this is really spicy!


  • Cooking Tip: To check doneness of chicken, poke the thickest part of the chicken thigh with a chopstick. If the juice runs clear, it’s done.  If the juice is pinkish or has any rose/red color, it will need a few minutes more to cook.
  • Fish sauce dressing can be modified to your taste. If you like it more sweet, sour, spicy, or salty, add a little more of each ingredient to taste.
  • Add diced Thai chili a little at a time. These chilis are spicy!  Taste as you go, adjusting the amount to your spice tolerance.
  • The salad, not dressed, keeps well in the fridge overnight. I recommend dressing the salad when ready to eat.
  • Goi Ga is also served as a side dish with Vietnamese Congee. 
  • Keep the boiled chicken stock for another use, you can also drink it to boost the immune system!


Serving: 4peopleCalories: 127kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 14gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 789mgPotassium: 360mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 291IUVitamin C: 35mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 1mg
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