Vietnamese Chicken Coleslaw Salad

I love Vietnamese salads. Growing up, there were two in particular that we often ate that I absolutely loved: the rice roll salad and the coleslaw salad. We ate the coleslaw salad more often just because it was simpler and cheaper to make. After making chicken stock with pieces of chicken and bones, we would tear off the meat and set it aside for a coleslaw salad. My parents would then manually shave green and red cabbages and carrots for the salad. I remember doing this for them and it took forever! It always resulted in way too much coleslaw too.

When I moved out and started making my own, I bought cabbages and manually shaved them as well. Lol. Then I realized it was simply ridiculous since we could never eat that much. It was also a waste of time so I started to buy the coleslaw packages at the store. Yes, stores sell them all ready for you! And they aren't very expensive either. I remember when my parents came over and I made the salad for them. I saw my mom examining the coleslaw package I was using and then showing my dad. Yes mom. They sell them already for you! And when they are on sale they can be just $1 a bag! Awesome, right?!! It's not as fresh buying them from packages but it's definitely the best way to go here. I urged my parents to just buy the packages as well. It might have made more sense doing it manually when we had everyone at home to eat lots of food but now my parents are only cooking for themselves.

It's funny when I think about eating at home while growing up. Everything was so manual and labor intensive. I guess my parents were so used to doing things the long and hard way in Vietnam that they didn't bother looking for shortcuts available to them in Canada. We would buy raw peanuts and roast them ourselves at home. I remember being sent outside in our vegetable garden and blowing and stirring the peanuts to remove the skins on them. Again, it just took forever. One day, my mom told me that we don't have to do that anymore because they sell already roasted and skinless peanuts at the store. Lol.

I'm obsessed with candied bacon lately so naturally, I had to throw some in :)

So the recipe I'm about to share consists of both store bought coleslaw and roasted nuts. Save yourself a lot of time and trouble and just buy coleslaw and nuts! Normally, I use peanuts in this recipe but since I didn't have any at home, I just used almonds. I love this salad because every crunchy bite you take is sweet and salty and just full of flavor from all the raw vegetables and nuts. It's definitely different than a lot of salads out there, which is something I love about it. I make a lot of salads now, including a lot of French salads. This refreshing Vietnamese chicken coleslaw salad is still one of my favorites. My husband and 4 year old loves it too :)

Vietnamese Chicken Coleslaw Salad
Serves 4

1 package coleslaw (16oz)
3/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 cup shredded chicken meat


garlic oil (pressed garlic fried in a lot of oil)
fish sauce dressing (Nuoc Mam)


candied bacon (optional)
crushed nuts

Toss together coleslaw, mint, and chicken in large salad bowl. Serve each plate with around 1 cup of this mix. Spoon over 1 tbsp garlic/oil, 2-3 tbsp fish sauce dressing and then top with 1 tbsp candied bacon (if using) and 1 tbsp crushed nuts. Serve immediately.


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