A quick and easy recipe for Yum Woon Sen, the popular spicy Thai noodle salad. Made with mung bean thread noodles and ground pork for a healthy and light lunch or dinner!
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Thai cuisine is a favorite of mine, especially food from the Northern Thai region. I eat it at least once a week and the dish I adore the most is Yum Woon Sen.
I love this salad on so many levels. It’s light, refreshing, and has the typical Thai delicious flavors of sour, spicy, salty, and sweet all in one.
It’s also healthy so, when I make it at home, I make enough to munch on it for a few days. Cold and straight from the refrigerator!
I can’t get enough for it. Totally addicted, but in a good way.
What is Yum Woon Sen
Yum Woon Sen is a spicy Thai noodle salad, made with mung bean thread noodles and lean pork and it can be served warm or at room temperature.
Mung Bean Thread Noodles are thin noodles that are also called cellophane or glass noodles. They can be found in the noodle section of any Asian food market.
Although traditionally made with pork, other leaner proteins can be used, like ground chicken or ground turkey. Just in case you don’t eat pork or are looking to make this dish even healthier.
Of course, this recipe is my version of Yum Woon Sen and the ingredient measurements are tailored to my preferences of sour/sweet/spicy/salty.
Feel free to make adjustments to the recipe to suit your tastes too. For example, add more fish sauce for salty, more lime juice and rice vinegar for sour.
Fish Sauce Brands
The savory umami flavor of this Yum Woon Sen salad relies heavily on the fish sauce, so be sure to use a good quality brand.
What is fish sauce? It’s a liquid sauce made from salted fish that has been fermenting for up to two years and is used often in Asian cuisine.
The taste is best described as salty and a little sour with a touch of sweetness, but the smell is best described as completely vile.
Even though it doesn’t smell as good as it tastes, it’s a wonderful ingredient to have on hand, as it works well in all cuisines.
When choosing a fish sauce, pick one that has fish and salt as the only ingredients. I use Red Boat Fish Sauce and love it for it’s simple flavor.
Want another fish sauce Thai recipe? Check out my Thai Braised Pork Belly!
If you like/love Thai food, try this recipe for Yum Woon Sen. It’s a wonderful dish to serve when you are looking for an easy, quick, and healthy lunch or dinner.
Yum Woon Sen
- 1/2 pound ground pork (can substitute ground chicken or ground turkey)
- 8 ounces mung bean thread noodles (also called glass or cellophane noodles)
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or Tamari
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (look for one with only fish/anchovy and salt as the ingredients
- 2 tablespoons unsesaoned rice vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons garlic chili sauce
- 1 large lime juiced
- 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
- 4 green onions finely minced
- 2 tablespoons cocktail peanuts chopped
optional accompaniments: sliced cucumbers, ripe tomato wedges, and/or chopped lettuce
- Place the noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak for at least 10 minutes, or until noodles have softened. Drain and use scissors to cut the noodles into 2 inch pieces. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons soy sauce or Tamari, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1-2 tablespoons garlic chili sauce, juice the large lime, 1/4 cup cilantro, and 4 chopped green onions. Set aside.
- Using the same large skillet, lightly brown the ground meat over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until cooked throughout. Turn off the heat. Add the small bowl of sauce and the noodles to the cooked meat in the skillet. Mix well. Toss in the 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts and adjust the seasonings.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with optional accompaniments: cucumber slices, tomato wedges, and/or chopped lettuce.
Recipe Notes & Tips:
- Refrigerate any leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator and use within 1-2 days.