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Yum Kanom Jeen (Cold Thai Rice Noodle Salad Recipe)

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Yum kanom jeen is the best cold Thai rice noodle salad recipe ever! It’s spicy, it’s healthy, and it’s packed with mackerel or endless substitutions – it’s a refreshing light meal that just hits the spot. So good!

Yum kanom jeen, Thai rice noodle salad with vegetables, mackerel, chilies, and vermicelli noodles.

What is yum kanom jeen

Yum kanom jeen is a refreshing Thai salad with rice noodles. It’s typically spicy, sour, and light. Often tossed with a protein like fish, chicken, or beef, it’s a dish that’s healthy, versatile, and delicious.

Thai rice noodle salad recipe

Also known as yam khanom chin, yam khanom jeen, and yam kanom jeen, this salad is literally all I love about Thai food in a salad bowl! Salty, spicy, and sour, it’s what Thai cuisine is all about.

This Thai rice noodle salad recipe is super simple and fast. It’s made with light rice noodles that all popular all over Southeast Asia, healthy and low-carb. Perfect for summer and year-round.

Blue and white bowl with yum kanom jeen salad, and a wooden spoon lifting a spoonful over the dish.

The dressing is a mix of fish sauce, umami-loaded fermented fish sauce, sweet palm sugar, and tangy lime juice. If fermented fish sauce sounds like a no-no, just give it a try. If you’re after real Thai taste, this salad is just that.

And you can totally have it your way. With this mackerel salad recipe you can adjust the heat, swap the fish for your favorite protein, and switch up the flavors.

Mackerel is readily available at food markets in Thailand.
Mackerel, the key ingredients in this said, is readily available at food markets in Thailand.

Can’t get enough of Thai yum salads? Also try my yum nua, yum talay, and yum woon sen pork. They’re all about those fresh, bold flavors.

4 Reasons to try this Thai salad

  • It pairs amazing with other food. Thai salads pair amazing with other food, it’s also our tradition to share large amounts of food with many people.
  • It’s perfect for busy weeknights. I love easy recipes on crazy weekdays! This one is not just simple, it’s also satisfying and filling yet light.
  • It’s a great way to use leftovers. Clean out your fridge and toss your leftover vegetables or protein with this Asian rice noodle salad!
  • It’s authentic Thai food. This is not a Westernized version of a Thai salad, it’s the real deal. You could totally get this at a Thai restaurant in Thailand.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Bird's eye view of recipe ingredients; rice vermicelli noodles, veggies and chilies, mackerel, fermented fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, and fish sauce.
A package of fresh kanom jeen noodles on a bamboo background.
  • Kanom jeen – This is a type of fermented rice noodle often used in Thai cuisine. In Thailand, you can get fresh vermicelli noodles at food markets, overseas you can get fine rice vermicelli noodles at an Asian grocery store or at Amazon. (Do not confuse them for glass noodles!)
  • Mackerel – Brings a rich, fishy taste that complements the dressing. Feel free to sub with other protein.
  • Fermented fish sauce, fish sauce, palm sugar, lime – For the yum kanom jeen dressing. Umami, spicy, tangy, and salty.
  • Shallots, culantro, green onions
  • Yard long beans – Also known as snake beans, they bring a delightful crunch and fresh flavor.
  • Chilies – I used Thai Jinda chilies, you can use bird’s eye chilies or a milder type of fresh chili peppers.
  • Thai chili flakes (optional) – For those who love spice.

How to make mackerel salad

  1. Soak the noodles

    If using dry rice vermicelli noodles, prepare as per package instructions and rinse in cold water to avoid stickiness.

  2. Prep the vegetables and mackerel

    Instructions for prepping the vegetables and frying the mackerel.

    1. Finely chop vegetables, herbs, and chilies.

    2. Sauté mackerel over medium heat until crispy and remove meat.

  3. Toss the salad

    Instruction for tossing the yum kanom jeen salad.

    1. In a large bowl, whisk together fish sauces, palm sugar, lime, and chili flakes.

    2. Add herbs, vegetables, noodles and mix.

    3. Mix in the fish and serve immediately.

Kitchen tools

  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Colander: For the vermicelli noodles.
  • Tongs: For tossing the salad

Variations

  • Swap the proteins. If you’re not a fan of mackerel, you can swap it for a protein of your choice. Whether it’s tuna, steak, shrimp, grilled chicken, this recipe welcomes them all.
  • Vegetables. Feel free to toss in your favorite veggies like cucumber, tomatoes, onions, celery, or others.

How to serve

Serve the salad on its own or sandwich it in between lettuce wraps.

Pair this with one of my other Thai recipes like moo yang recipe (Thai grilled pork), or crying tiger steak.

Close-up of Thai rice noodle salad with mackerel, vegetables, and vermicelli.

Sprinkle a little bit of sesame seeds and a drizzle of peanut sauce if you’re making it with grilled chicken.

How to store

Once the kanom jeen noodles are tossed with the dressing, they do not keep well. They will soak up all the dressing, and the salad will not be as tasty. I advise eating everything in one go. If you do have leftovers, keep ’em in an airtight container in the fridge.

Did you know?

  • The use of kanom jeen, or fermented rice noodles, dates back centuries and is believed to have been introduced to Thailand by the Mon people.
  • “Yam” refers to a salad that’s spicy and sour, and “kanom jeen” is Thai for the rice vermicelli noodles used in this recipe.

Frequently asked questions

Is this dish gluten-free?

Yes, since there is no soy sauce or any other gluten-containing ingredients in this recipe, it is gluten-free as long as all your sauces and other ingredients are gluten-free.

Is there a vegetarian version of this salad?

You can substitute the mackerel with tofu and use a vegetarian fish sauce.

More Thai salad recipes you’ll love

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Yum Kanom Jeen (Cold Thai Rice Noodle Salad Recipe)

Yum kanom jeen, Thai rice noodle salad with vegetables, mackerel, chilies, and vermicelli noodles.
Yum kanom jeen is a spicy, sour, and salty Thai salad with rice vermicelli noodles.
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Salad
Serving Size 1

Ingredients

  • 2.5 ounces rice vermicelli noodles dried
  • 1.8 ounce yardlong beans
  • 3.5 ounces mackerel
  • 2 ounces shallots
  • 0.35 ounces green onions
  • 0.35 ounces culantro
  • 3 chilies to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes optional
  • 2 tablespoons fermented fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Instructions

SOAK THE NOODLES

  • If using dry rice vermicelli noodles, prepare as per package instructions and rinse in cold water to avoid stickiness.

PREP THE VEGETABLES AND MACKEREL

  • Finely chop vegetables, herbs, and chilies. Sauté mackerel over medium heat until crispy and remove meat.

TOSS THE SALAD

  • In a large bowl, whisk together fish sauces, palm sugar, lime, and chili flakes. Add herbs, vegetables, noodles and mix. Mix in the fish and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • You can swap the mackerel for other protein like tuna, chicken, tofu, or others.
  • Feel free to add more vegetables.

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