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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
More Thai Salads
- Thai Beef Salad (Nam Tok)
- Thai Pomelo Salad (Yam Som O)
- Thai Minced Chicken Salad (Laab / Larb Gai)
- Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam)
- Frank’s Laab Moo (Thai Salad with Pork, Herbs, and Lime)
- Thai Shrimp Salad
- Som Tum Thai (Spicy Papaya Salad)
- Anchor 3-Piece Glass Mixing Bowls
- Cutting Board
- 6-inch Global Knife
- Mortar and Pestle
- All Clad Saucepan
Thai Glass Noodle Salad (Yum Woon Sen)
- Mixing Bowls
- Cutting Board
For the Dressing:
- 1-2 Thai Bird’s Eye Chilis, to taste
- 1 clove Garlic
- 2 1/2 Tbsp grated Palm Sugar (sub light brown sugar)
- 4 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
For the Salad:
- 6 oz 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
- 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.
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