Vietnamese rice noodles with nuoc cham

Adam Liaw
Picnic-friendly noodle salad with nuoc cham dressing.
Picnic-friendly noodle salad with nuoc cham dressing. Photo: William Meppem

These simple noodles are the basis for so many delicious dishes. Add some grilled chicken (or even a bit of roast chook), some stir-fried beef or a fish fillet and you have a delicious meal ready to go.


200g rice vermicelli

1 Lebanese cucumber

2-3 cups mixed fresh herbs, such as coriander, mint, Vietnamese mint and Thai basil

2 cups shredded lettuce

½ cup crushed roasted peanuts (optional)

Nuoc cham

juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes

1 tbsp white vinegar

3 tsp sugar, or to taste

1-2 tbsp fish sauce, or to taste (check gluten-free if required)

2 bird's-eye chillies, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed


1. For the rice vermicelli, place the noodles in a heatproof bowl and cover with freshly boiled water. Stand for 5 minutes, then rinse under cold running water until completely cool. Drain.

2. Peel the cucumber to give it a striped appearance, halve it lengthways, then cut into thin crescents on a sharp diagonal.For the nuoc cham, mix the citrus juice and vinegar and add the sugar a teaspoon at a time, tasting the mixture as you go until it becomes a pleasant balance of sweet and sour. Add the fish sauce a little at a time, again tasting as you go, until the dressing is savoury and a little on the salty side. Stir through the chilli and garlic.

3. Serve the noodles with the cucumber, herbs, lettuce, peanuts (if using) and nuoc cham.

Tip: These noodles make a fantastic picnic dish. Pack the cooked noodles in the base of a container and top with cooked turmeric fish, spring onions and dill, then pack the herbs, peanuts, cucumber, lettuce and a jar of nuoc cham dressing in a separate container.

Find more of Adam Liaw's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.

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