In partnership with CK Mondavi Wines & Family.
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Vermicelli Noodle Salad
Upon arrival, we felt the heat immediately as we exited the airport. The kind of heat that’s akin to raising the lid off a pot in which something had been steaming. We were in Bangkok and quickly got into an air-conditioned taxi. As I looked out the window on our way to the apartment we had rented for our stay, visions of people squatting roadside or seated on low plastic stools, eating soup bowls of rice vermicelli noodles, were most dominant above all others.
As we came to the security gate to our accommodations, it was well into lunchtime and we had interrupted the guard’s meal. He put his bowl and chopsticks down before approaching our taxi.
While being questioned and checked in, I saw the bowl he set down from where I sat and realized that he wasn’t having a soup. He was having vermicelli noodles, as were the others I had seen along the way, topped with what looked like mint and basil. This looked like the perfect dish on a hot day.
I have had cold Vietnamese rice noodle dishes in New York’s Chinatown Neighborhood and always thought the dish to be exclusive to Vietnam. I was wrong in thinking this, as the Thai certainly had their version.
Rice Vermicelli Noodles in Asia
I was hungry after the flight and taxi ride, and the first thing I asked our host when we arrived was where I can find a good, cold vermicelli noodle salad. She told me that I was in luck because the neighborhood in which we were staying, Lat Phrao, about 20 minutes from Bangkok Central, was a hawker food enclave and I would be sure to find one quickly.
Traveling in Southeast Asia
The further we traveled Southeast Asia, I came to realize that cold vermicelli noodle salad was ubiquitous in just about every other culture. There is something about that lovely combination of sticky chewy (mostly) thin noodles, loosened up by a spicy citrus dressing, topped with fresh greens, pickled vegetables, and a protein.
When I think of those days of travel in that part of the world, what I took away from it more than anything, was how to stay cool in very hot climes. One of our favorite ways as a family was to enjoy rice vermicelli noodles served cold.
Now, every time the weather turns warmer, I think of making my rendition of this noodle salad.
It brings me back to those days, in that part of the world where summer never sleeps, when my family and I would sit on plastic stools, getting hungry smelling the aroma of spices wafting through the air, eating noodles as the locals do; roadside and under a shade.
As I mentioned, there is usually a protein of sorts. Our preference is a homemade rolled skinless sausage. Below is the Dish Our Town recipe.Print
A light and satisfying cold noodle dish for the warm days to come. Perfect dish to be served for picnics, as it’s best eaten cold or room temperature. Pairs really well with cold, crisp white wine.
1 lb of Vermicelli Rice Noodles
For pickled vegetables:
1 lb of Ground Pork
Fresh Chopped Green Onions
In a big bowl mix minced pork, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1.5 tablespoons of self-raising flour, a teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Let rest while making pickled vegetables.
As for pickled vegetables; in a large bowl, put in sliced radish, cucumber, carrot, parsnip and cabbage. Add the juice of 1 lime, 1 sliced red chili (with seeds), 1 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce. In a small pot, boil a mixture of white vinegar and 3 tablespoons of white sugar (let cool) and add to bowl. Let sit for minimum 3 hours.
After letting the pork mixture rest, roll the minced pork in cylindric shapes (sausage) about the size of breakfast links. Put on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 25-30 mins at 350 degrees, then finish under broiler for 5-7 minutes until brown and glazed.
For the Vermicelli, bring water to a boil in a big pot, remove from flame, then add the vermicelli noodles. Leave until softened and separated (about 3-5 minutes). Drain, pat dry, and set to the side to cool.
Create salad dish by putting noodles at bottom of a big dish, put salad greens along with sausages on top, and dress with pickled vegetables and some of the pickling sauce.
Serve cold and enjoy.
- Serving Size: 10 ounces
Pair with CK Mondavi & Family Wines
Further, what I love about the dish is that it pairs well with most wines. What’s a meal without wine? The dish is unpretentious, and with that said, easy uncomplicated wines go along best. We prefer wines by CK Mondavi in such cases. The kind of approachable wine that can be enjoyed among family and friends, wherever you are; even roadside.
The three I recommend with this dish are the Sauvignon Blanc, the Chardonnay, and the Red Blend.
For those who prefer red wine with their meals, the “Red Blend” has a very light body, with hints of stone-fruit and berries, makes it a perfect complement to the pork sausages. The Chardonnay is a white wine that is both refreshing, and yet, bold enough that it doesn’t get lost in the spicy flavors of the dish.
Our personal favorite, however, is the Sauvignon Blanc. This crisp and dry wine, and it’s high acidity, with notes of citrus and honeysuckle completes the dish like no other.
Next time you hold a party, or it’s a bit hot to eat something heavy, try making this dish, grab some CK Mondavi wines and transport yourself/yourselves to Southeast Asia.
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