Yum Woon Sen is our favourite authentic noodle salad recipe from Thailand.
Yum Woon Sen, also known as Thai Glass Noodle Salad, is a traditional healthy noodle salad. The flavourful dish is simple to make and can be served warm or cold.
Our recipe features ingredients like cellophane glass noodles, ground chicken, shrimp, fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, Thai chiliesd, cilantro, mint, carrot, tomatoes, scallions and peanuts.
We’ve traveled extensively through Thailand and eaten at all of the best Thai restaurants in Toronto. We’ve taken Thai cooking classes in Chang Mai and learned expert cooking techniques courtesy of the executive chef at JW Marriott Phuket Resort.
Cooking Thai food at home is quick and easy. Our crowd-pleasing Yum Woon Sen recipe takes under 30 minutes to prepare and keeps in the fridge for a few days. You’ll love loitering over these delicious Thai Glass Noodle Salad leftovers!
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What Is Yum Woon Sen?
Yum Woon Sen is a popular dish both inside and outside Thailand.
Woon Sen, or glass noodles are clear noodles made from either mung bean, sweet potato, potato or tapioca starch. Commonly used in Asian cuisine, they are sold in their dry form in packaged bundles; separated into 1 serving bundles for your cooking convenience.
Yum Woon Sen is a fresh Thai salad that uses these clear cellophane noodles, which are known for their ability to absorb a lot of liquid. You only need a little bit of noodles to fill a bowl and satisfy your hunger cravings.
Beyond the mandatory glass noodles, traditional Yum Woon Sen recipes typically feature ground chicken, shrimp or prawns, garlic, carrots, tomato, fresh herbs, spicy chili peppers, fish sauce and roasted peanuts.
Travel to Asia by Cooking Thai Glass Noodle Salad at Home
I love traveling through Asia.
My first visit had me living in South Korea for a year as a teacher and it’s where I was first introduced to fermented vegetables like kimchi.
After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout southeast Asia for 6 months, visiting the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
On my first visit I spent over a month backpacking through Thailand. I’ve revisited Thailand two times since as a food and travel journalist and always love to discover new regional dishes. Over the years I’ve explored Thai destinations such as Ko Phi Phi, Krabi, Chiang Khong, Chang Mai, Sukothai and Bangkok.
What I found most fascinating is Thailand’s distinct regional food cultures. Much like the regional cuisines found in Germany, Italy or Spain, each town in Thailand had its own local speciality.
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Where To Eat Thai Glass Noodle Salad
If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Thai restaurant that serves traditional Yum Woon Sen.
Haven’t traveled to Thailand before? It may be helpful to first sample Yum Woon Sen at a local Thai restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can also determine the ideal portion size, variety of vegetables to use, ideal dressing to noodle ratio and favourite garnishes.
I spent months researching the best Thai restaurants in Toronto, visiting popular restaurants that serve authentic Thai dishes such as Sabai Sabai, Sukothai, Khao San Road, Pai, Kiin, Bangkok Garden, Mengrai Thai and Favorites Thai BBQ.
If you’re looking to sample authentic Thai Glass Noodle Salad in Toronto try visiting one of these award-winning restaurants.
Yum Woon Sen Health Benefits
Our Thai Glass Noodle Salad recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
An excellent source of vitamin A and the phytochemical beta-carotene, carrots help keep your eyes and bones healthy, and may help protect against several types of cancer.
Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.
A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, limes help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.
Chili has been proven to help reduce the duration of sickness, prevent heart disease, and promote weight loss.
Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.
Seafood is a high-protein food that is low in calories, total fat, and saturated fat. High in vitamins and minerals, seafood has been shown to have numerous health benefits including decreasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, obesity, and hypertension.
A good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, cilantro is also rich in antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage by free radicals.
Fresh mint is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and can have a calming effect on the digestive system. It is also a good source of folate, which supports blood health.
Peanuts are rich in protein, fat, and fibre. While peanuts may have a large amount of fat, most of the fats they contain are known as “good fats.”
Thai Glass Noodle Salad Cooking Tips
This yummy Yum Woon Sen recipe is quick and easy to make at home.
- Our Thai Glass Noodle Salad recipe suggests using raw prawns or shrimp. You could also purchase cooked shrimp and add to the salad.
- We’ve used ground chicken in this recipe but you could substitue for ground pork. If you’re a chicken lover you could also substitute minced for thinly sliced chicken thighs.
- Yum Woon Sen must be prepared with glass cellophane noodles, which can be purchased at a local Asian supermarket or online.
- We’ve used tomatoes, carrots, scallions, onions and Thai long red chillies as fresh vegetables in this recipe but you could also use a mixture of shallots, spicy bird’s eye chilies, bell peppers, cucumbers and crunchy bean sprouts.
- We’ve garnished the serving bowl with roasted peanuts but you could substitute for cashews.
- We’ve sweetened the salad dressing with brown sugar but you could substitute for palm sugar.
- We like to double the recipe so we can serve the dish warm for dinner and enjoy cold leftovers for lunch the following day.
What To Serve withYum Woon Sen
Yum Woon Sen is typically enjoyed as a fresh salad on its own or as part of a larger Thai feast.
If you’re hosting a large dinner party, pair homemade Thai Glass Noodle Salad as part of a buffet with dishes like Papaya Salad, Thai Beef and Pumpkin Curry, Thai Red Prawn Curry, Pad Kra Pao, Thai Red Curry Prawn Burger, Thai Pork Rib Soup with Vermicelli Noodles, Egg Tofu Soup with Pork Meatballs, Grabong Northern Thai Pumpkin Fritter, Gai Pad Med Mamuang Thai Cashew Chicken, Authentic Massaman Curry Recipe with Beef, Nam Tok Authentic Thai “Waterfall Beef” Salad, Gaeng Keow Wan Thai Green Curry Chicken, Thai Pork & Beef Mince Curry Khua Kling and Chiang Mai Noodles “Khao Soi”.
The noodles keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days so store it in an airtight container.
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Best Thai Glass Noodle Salad Recipe
Shrimp & Chicken Thai Glass Noodle Salad
- 80 g Sweet Potato Cellophane Glass Noodles
- 4 cups Water
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 4 oz Ground chicken
- 10 Shrimp peeled and deveined
- 3 tbsp Fish sauce
- 1.5 tbsp Brown sugar
- 3 tbsp Lime juice
- 1 tsp Garlic clove minced
- 1 Red Thai Chili finely minced
- 1/2 cup Spanish onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup Cilantro chopped
- 1/4 cup Mint chopped
- 1/4 cup Carrot julienned
- 1/3 cup Roma tomatoes cut in half lengthwise, seeded and julienned
- 2 Green onions chopped
- 1/4 cup Peanuts
- Soak glass noodles in room-temperature water for 15 minutes. Drain and cut into 3-inch pieces.
- In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 2 cups of the water to boil. When the water is boiling, add the glass noodles and cook until transparent and soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain well and transfer to a medium sized bowl and set aside.
- In the same saucepan, bring the remaining 2 cups of water to boil. Add ground chicken and using a slotted spoon to break up the chicken, cook for 2-3 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, scoop out the chicken and transfer to a strainer set over a bowl. Keep the water at a rolling boil.
- To the pot of boiling water, add the shrimp and cook while stirring for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking. Set aside with chicken.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the fish sauce and brown sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the lime juice, garlic, and red chili. Stir well. Stir in the cooked noodles, chicken, shrimp and lightly toss to coat. Add the white onion, cilantro, mint, carrot, tomatoes and green onions. Toss to mix. Top with peanuts and serve.
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