Thai Glass Noodle Salad (Yum Woon Sen)

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Thai Glass Noodle Salad (Yum Woon Sen) is a simple, fresh noodle dish that can be made in just a few minutes and adapted in any way you’d like. Use quick-cooking glass noodles as the base and add your favorite protein and vegetables. Great served warm or chilled.

noodle salad on a white plate

This Thai noodle dish is the sort of thing that I sought out on the hottest days when we lived in Thailand. It is so fresh and satisfying, balancing all of the flavors that are common in Thai cuisine – sweet, sour, savory, and spicy. Yum Woonsen is perfect warm weather lunch fare. And because it can be served chilled or room temperature, it’s the sort of dish that would be welcome at any potluck or picnic here in the U.S. 

And best of all? This dish is so easy to make! You won’t need any unusual ingredients except for the noodles, and I’ve got you covered with plenty of details on those below.

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overhead image of Thai dressing with a mortar and pestle
overhead image of uncooked shrimp in a clear bowl
overhead image of a spoon holding a cooked shrimp over a saucepan

Ingredients

  • Glass Noodles – These very thin clear noodles are also sometimes labeled cellophane noodles or mung bean noodles. See below for more on choosing the right noodles for Yum Woonsen.
  • Shrimp – You can make this with any size shrimp, but I like to use a medium-sized shrimp and estimate about 3 to 4 per serving. 
  • Shallots, Tomato, Cilantro – These fresh ingredients add color and flavor. 
  • Roasted Peanuts – Don’t miss the addition of roasted peanuts to this salad. They add a signature crunch. If making the salad ahead, be sure to wait to add these until right before serving so they stay crunchy. 
  • Thai Dressing – These noodles are dressed with a variation of my favorite Simple Dressing for Thai Salads. It is sweet, sour, spicy, and savory with just a few ingredients. Be sure to adjust it to fit your preference – more sweet, less spicy, etc.

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overhead image of packages of glass noodles on a grey countertop

What Noodles to Use for Glass Noodle Salad

The noodles you need for this dish are made from mung beans. Look for “cellophane noodles”, “bean thread noodles”, or another very thin white noodle that lists mung beans as the main ingredient. These are not the same as Pad Thai noodles which are made with rice. Sometimes the correct noodles are labeled as vermicelli, but be careful not to get “rice vermicelli” which is made from rice instead of mung beans.

In the photo below, the correct noodles are on the top. The two noodles on the bottom are not the right type for Thai Glass Noodle Salad.

overhead image of packages of rice noodles on a grey countertop

How to Make Glass Noodle Salad Ahead

This noodle dish can be easily made ahead. It is great served chilled or at room temperature and the noodles hold up well and retain their springy texture. Just be sure to wait and add the peanuts and cilantro until right before serving so they stay fresh and hold their shape.

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3.93 from 13 votes

Thai Glass Noodle Salad (Yum Woon Sen)

Thai Glass Noodle Salad (Yum Woon Sen) is a simple, fresh noodle dish that can be made in just a few minutes and adapted in any way you’d like. Use quick-cooking glass noodles as the base and add your favorite protein and vegetables. Great served warm or chilled.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowls
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Saucepan

Ingredients 

For the Dressing:

  • 1-2 Thai Bird’s Eye Chilis, to taste
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons grated Palm Sugar (sub light brown sugar)
  • 4 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce

For the Salad:

  • 6 ounces uncooked Bean Thread Vermicelli / Mung Bean Noodles (see note)
  • 12 medium-sized Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced Shallots
  • 1 Tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup Roasted Peanuts
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro Leaves, roughly chopped

Instructions 

  • Prepare noodles: Prepare noodles according to package directions, making sure not to overcook. Drain and rinse under cool water. Use kitchen scissors to cut the noodles apart into roughly 6-inch lengths or transfer to a cutting board and slice (this just makes the salad easier to eat).
  • Make dressing: If you have a mortar and pestle, grind the chilies and garlic into a paste. Add palm sugar and grind until sugar is dissolved. Add lime juice and fish sauce and swirl the pesto around to mix. If you don't have a mortar and pestle you can finely chop the chilis and garlic (be very careful with these super hot chilis – it’s best to use gloves when working with them) and then whisk everything together. Set aside.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to boiling water and cook, stirring frequently, just until shrimp are opaque and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer warm shrimp to a mixing bowl and immediately toss with shallots until shallots are softened.
  • Add dressing, tomatoes, and noodles and toss everything together to combine. At this point the salad can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
  • Just before serving, fold peanuts and cilantro leaves into salad. Serve salad at room temperature or chilled.

Notes

Glass Noodles – These very thin clear noodles are also sometimes labeled as cellophane noodles or mung bean noodles. They are not the same as rice or Pad Thai noodles. Check the package for instructions on how to best prepare the brand you purchased before making the salad.
Bird’s Eye Chilis – These tiny red Thai chilis are extremely spicy. Using one will produce a very spicy salad, so feel free to just use half for less heat or increase to 2 if you like a lot of spice. If you don’t have Bird’s Eye Chilis, you can use jalapeños or some red pepper flakes, adjusting for the amount of spice you prefer.

Nutrition

Calories: 287kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 746mg | Potassium: 283mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 341IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $10.00
Calories: 287
Keyword: easy salad, easy salad recipe, easy Thai recipe, Entree Salad, shrimp recipe, shrimp salad, thai salad
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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