Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Gỏi Gà / Gà Bóp / Gà Xé Phay) is a favorite at Vietnamese family gatherings. It’s light, refreshing, and full of vibrant flavors.

There are several versions of Chicken Salad in Vietnam. Here, I introduce the Central Vietnamese version of chicken salad, made with chicken, onion, Vietnamese coriander, and without fish sauce.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad 1
Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Gỏi Gà, Gà Bóp)

Vietnamese Chicken Salad: An Ideal Starter

One of the things I really enjoy about Southeast Asian cuisine is how the locals often use water-based dressings for salads instead of oil-based ones. This makes the salads lighter and more refreshing.

In Vietnam, salads are called Gỏi in the South and Nộm in the North.

The dressing for Vietnamese-style salad is often made from fish sauce, sugar, lime juice (calamansi juice or rice vinegar), garlic, and chili. It’s quite similar to Nước Chấm dipping sauce but more concentrated with less water.

Gỏi Gà is usually how Vietnamese moms make use of Gà Luộc (Vietnamese-style poached chicken) during big family gatherings like Tet holidays or death anniversaries (đám giỗ).

Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Gỏi Gà, Gà Bóp)

Gà Luộc is quite bland on it own but it’s a must-have on the Vietnamese altar. Nobody wants it until moms make it into Chicken Salad, Bún Thang (chicken noodle soup) or Xôi Gà (chicken sticky rice).

In Central Vietnam, this Gỏi Gà is also known as Gà Xé Phay or Gà Bóp Rau Răm. The flavor is bolder than versions from other regions, yet it’s still easy to make. The dressing for the central style is lime pepper sauce (muối tiêu chanh) instead of fish sauce-based dressing.

Another delicious variation is Chicken & Cabbage Salad (Gỏi Gà Bắp Cải).

Ingredients

Vietnamese Chicken Salad Ingredients
  • Poached Chicken
  • Onions
  • Vietnamese coriander (rau răm): A popular herb in Vietnamese cuisine. It’s often served with hột vịt lộn (balut) and Bún Bò Huế (Hue-style spicy beef noodle soup). Also called Laksa leaves, it is essential for Laksa, the famous noodle soup of Singapore and Malaysia.
Rau Răm (Vietnamese Coriander / Vietnamese Mint)
Rau Răm (Vietnamese Coriander)
  • Dressing: salt, sugar, lime, MSG, ground pepper, and chili.

Instructions

  • Thinly slice the onions and soak them in iced water for 10 minutes. Drain, then toss the onions with sugar and lime juice. Let them rest for another 10 minutes.
  • Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  • Wash, rinse, and drain the Vietnamese coriander, then chop the herb.
  • Mix salt, sugar, lime juice, ground pepper, sliced chili and MSG to create the dressing.
  • Pour half of the dressing over the chicken and toss well.
Mix the chicken with some dressing.
  • Add the onions (without the brine) and Vietnamese coriander to the chicken. Pour a few tablespoons of the remaining dressing (adjust to your taste) over the mixture and toss gently until well combined.
Toss the chicken with sliced onions and chopped Vietnamese coriander.
  • Let the salad sit for 10 minutes before serving. You can sprinkle some roasted peanuts and fried shallots on top if you like.
Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Gỏi Gà, Gà Bóp)

Helpful Tips

  • This Gỏi Gà is a popular accompaniment to Hoi An Chicken Rice or simply steamed jasmine rice.
  • You can enjoy it alongside sesame rice crackers (bánh tráng nướng) or shrimp chips (bánh phồng tôm).
  • Vietnamese coriander creates the signature flavor for this chicken salad. You could substitute it with mint, Thai basil or lemon basil, but they will impart a different taste.

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Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Gỏi Gà, Gà Bóp)

Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Gỏi Gà/Gà Bóp)

Vietnamese Chicken Salad is a favorite at family gatherings in Vietnam. It's light, refreshing, and full of vibrant flavors. Here is the Central Vietnamese version, made with chicken, onion, Vietnamese coriander, and no fish sauce.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 29 minutes
Course Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine Vietnamese

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pound poached chicken (900g)
  • 3 onions (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar (for the onion)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (for the onion)
  • Iced water (for the onion)
  • 2 big handful Vietnamese coriander (rau răm)

Dressing

  • 3 tsp salt (to your taste)
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar (to your taste)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (to your taste)
  • ¼ tsp MSG (optional)
  • ½ tsp ground pepper (to your taste)
  • Chili slices (to your taste)

Instructions
 

  • Thinly slice the onions and soak them in iced water for 10 minutes. After draining, toss the onions with sugar and lime juice, then let them rest for another 10 minutes.
  • Shred or cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  • Wash, rinse, and drain the Vietnamese coriander, then chop it.
  • Combine salt, sugar, lime juice, ground pepper, chili, and MSG to make the dressing.
  • Add half of the dressing over the chicken and toss thoroughly.
  • Add the drained onions and Vietnamese coriander to the chicken. Pour some of the remaining dressing over the chicken mixture, adjusting to your taste, and toss gently until everything is well combined.
  • Allow the salad to sit for 10 minutes before serving. You could sprinkle some roasted peanuts and fried shallots on top.

Notes

  • This Gỏi Gà pairs well with Hoi An Chicken Rice or plain steamed jasmine rice.
  • It’s delicious with sesame rice crackers (bánh tráng nướng) or shrimp chips (bánh phồng tôm).
  • Vietnamese coriander gives this chicken salad its distinctive flavor. While you can substitute it with mint, Thai basil, or lemon basil, each will offer a unique taste.
     
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