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Yum Woon Sen Pork (Thai Glass Noodle Salad)

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Yum woon sen pork – one of the best Thai dishes, with an irresistible spicy and sour dressing, refreshing flavors, and crunchy vegetables. This easy Thai glass noodle salad comes together in less than 20 minutes, perfect for a healthy lunch or dinner.

Yum woon sen pork, Thai glass noodle salad, with tomatoes and onions served in a clay dish.

After making this, try some of my other spicy Thai salad recipes: som tum Thai (green papaya salad), yum pla muk with squid, and pla goong salad with shrimp.

What is yum woon sen

Yum woon sen is a healthy Thai glass noodle salad known for its blend of spicy, sour, and slightly sweet flavors. Thin glass noodles, fresh vegetables, and a protein like minced pork or shrimp are tossed in a tangy dressing made from lime juice, fish sauce, and chili.

Authentic Thai glass noodle salad

This is hands down one of my fave summer salads. An easy noodle salad with refreshing lime, juicy tomatoes, and crisp celery on a hot summer’s day? Yes please!

I usually whip up a yum woon sen ground pork, but feel free to toss in some fresh shrimp or even dried shrimp. The choice of protein is easy to customize.

Thai woman presenting yum woon sen, Thai glass noodle salad, in a clay dish.

It’s so light, yet it always fills me up. It’s one of my favorite street foods in Thailand. Yum woon sen is an absolute must-try, trust me.

The spicy Thai dressing is absolute perfection. It’s sweet, it’s sour, and it’s spicy. That’s three of the best flavors of Thai cuisine.

You’ll get refreshing glass noodles, savory minced pork, delicious vegetables, and the best Thai dressing. It’s going to be one of your new favorite salads, no doubt!

A wooden fork lifting a portion of glass noodles over a salad bowl with yum woon sen pork.

Here are some of my other Thai yum salad recipes: Yum nua is full of savory beef the spicy Thai seafood salad known as yum talay is always a hit.

What are glass noodles

Glass noodles are transparent noodles made primarily from starches like mung beans, potato, or tapioca. Popular in many Southeast Asian cuisine, they’re often used in stir-fries, salads, and soups.

2 packages of glass noodles, and unpacked glass noodles underneath it, on a white background.

Unlike traditional wheat-based noodles, glass noodles are gluten-free and turn transparent or translucent when cooked.

Glass noodles are healthy. They absorb a lot of water and fill you up quickly. They’re quite high in carbs but low in fats, so not the best option for those on a keto diet.

Glass noodles go by many names. I’ve seen them called cellophane noodles, mung bean noodles, Chinese vermicelli, bean vermicelli, and bean thread noodles. In Korean cuisine, they’re known as “japchae”, in Chinese cuisine as “fěn sī”, and Thai food lovers known them as “woon sen”.

Check out some of my other Thai glass noodles recipes: Thai chicken glass noodle soup, goong ob woonsen, and stir-fried pad woon sen

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.


Ingredients for yum woon sen: glass noodles, ground pork, fish sauce, white sugar, lime, pickled garlic water, chilies, vegetables, and roasted peanuts.
  • Glass noodles – A key ingredient in this Thai glass noodle salad recipe. They soak up the spicy dressing and all the other flavors. Do not confuse them for rice vermicelli, which look similar.
  • Ground pork – Ground pork adds a savory flavor that complements the other ingredients. Many Thai recipes may call for shrimp, but an easy yum woon sen pork is my preference.
  • Pickled garlic water – In our family, we often add pickled garlic water to a salad with glass noodles. You can ask for it in an Asian grocery store or at Asian markets. If you can’t find it, you can simply omit it.
  • White sugar – A pinch of sugar balances out the sour and spicy elements of the dressing. Avoid brown sugar or palm sugar to replicate the exact flavors of this recipe.
  • Fish sauce – Umami fish sauce mixed with fresh lime juice, sugar, and chilies results in an irresistible dressing that can be tossed with just about anything.
  • Lime – Fresh lime juice is an absolute must. It gives you that signature sour tang you absolutely NEED in this salad.
  • Chilies – Thai chilies like bird’s eye chilies bring a good amount of heat. My grandmother has a bunch of them in her yard, so we never ever run out.
  • Onion, coriander, Chinese celery, cherry tomatoes, green onions – These are my go-to vegetables and herbs for bright summer salads. Feel free to switch it up!
  • Roasted peanuts – Optional but recommended. A sprinkle of roasted peanuts adds a delightful crunch and a delicious nutty flavor.

Short recipe video

Cooking instructions

Soaked glass noodles in a bowl.

Step 1: Soak your glass noodles in cold water following the package instructions.

Colander with cooked ground pork and glass noodles over wok.

Step 2: Bring water to a boil in a large pot or wok over high heat. Add ground pork and when the pork is almost done add your glass noodles to the boiling water. The cooking time varies by brand, so check the package for guidance.

Ground pork and glass noodles in a clear bowl.

Step 3: Drain the cooked pork and noodles in a sieve, then transfer them to a large mixing bowl.

Yum woon sen ready in a clay pot.

Step 4: Gently toss in the fish sauce, white sugar, pickled garlic water, coriander, Chinese celery, green onions, chilies, lime juice, onions, and tomatoes.

Step 5: Stir in the roasted peanuts and let the salad sit for a few minutes before serving, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Tips for the best salad with glass noodles

  • Avoid overcooking the glass noodles: They only need a minute or less in boiling water. Don’t overcook them, as they will be mushy.
  • Use fresh ingredients: Yum woon sen is best made with fresh ingredients. Crunchy vegetables and fresh lime juice are a must.
  • Season to taste: Before serving, taste-test and adjust the flavors to your preference. Focus on the sour and spicy flavor, adjusting the lime juice and chilies if needed. Thai cooking is all about balancing the flavors to your taste.

Kitchen tools

  • Large mixing bowl and kitchen tongs for tossing the salad
  • Pot or saucepan for cooking pork and glass noodles
  • Colander for draining the soaked glass noodles
  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups

How to customize this Thai noodle salad recipe

Thai yum woon sen pork is one of the most versatile salads ever. You can easily switch up the ingredients to make this a family favorite.

  • Vegetables: You can swap out Chinese celery for bok choy. Feel free to toss in other greens like shallots or red onions.
  • Meal prep: This recipe is perfect for meal prep. Cook the noodles and pork in advance, and toss everything when you’re ready.
  • Noodles: Use more or less noodles to your preference, and adjust the seasonings to your spice buds.
  • Protein: It’s easy to switch the ground pork with chicken, beef, shrimp, or other seafood (talay).
  • Spice: Yum salads are known for their spicy and sour flavor profile. If that’s not your thing, you can easily lower the number of Thai chilies or use milder chilies like jalapeños or Anaheim pepper.

Serving Thai pork noodle salad

Yum woon sen pork is a versatile dish, perfect for a light lunch or dinner on its own. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs like cilantro or freshly chopped green onions and roasted peanuts for extra flavor and crunch.

Appetizer: I remember one Thai restaurant serving yum woon sen as an elegant appetizer in small glass cups, each with a shrimp nestled at the bottom.

Complementary dishes: For a fuller meal, pair your salad with moo yang (Thai grilled pork), tod mun pla (Thai fish cakes), authentic chicken pad Thai with rice noodles, and pad woon sen (glass noodle stir-fry).

How to store

Store your leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Note that the noodles may absorb the dressing over time, potentially becoming slightly mushy.

Did you know?

  • In Thailand, “yum” means a spicy and sour salad, and “woon sen” means glass noodles.
  • People in Thailand like eating bean thread noodles because they soak up water and help you feel full fast.
  • In Northeast Thailand, or Isan, sharing your food with others is a big part of the culture. Yum woon sen is perfect for this, great for eating together or as an extra dish on the side.

Frequently asked questions

Can glass noodles be eaten cold?

Yes, glass noodles can be enjoyed cold, especially in salads. They soak up flavors really well, so they’re just as delicious cold as they are hot.

How long does it take to cook glass noodles?

Glass noodles have to be cooked for a quick 1 to 5 minutes, following the package instructions. Once they’re cooked, they’ll turn translucent. Don’t forget to soak them in cold water for 10 minutes first.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, this recipe is free from soy sauce. Double-check your fish sauce labeling to ensure your brand is gluten-free.

Can I make this in advance?

Totally. Prep the noodles, pork, and vegetables ahead of time. Toss everything with the dressing when you’re ready.

What is the difference between yum woon sen and pad woon sen?

Both are Thai dishes. Yum woon sen is a cold glass noodle salad with a tangy, spicy dressing. Pad woon sen is a stir-fried glass noodle dish, typically with some protein and vegetables.

More Thai salad recipes you’ll love

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Yum Woon Sen Pork (Thai Glass Noodle Salad)

Yum woon sen pork (Thai glass noodle salad) in a clay bowl with a wooden fork on top, surrounded by flowers, on a bamboo serving tray.
Yum woon sen pork is a Thai salad that's both spicy and sour, perfect for a light meal.
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Salad
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2.5 ounces glass noodles dried
  • 7 ounces ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/4 cup pickled garlic water
  • 1 lime
  • a handful of coriander
  • a handful of green onions chopped
  • a handful of Chinese celery
  • 8 tomatoes any type of small tomato
  • 5 chilies bird's eye chilies, add to taste
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanuts

Instructions

  • Soak your glass noodles in cold water according to the package instructions.
  • Bring water to a boil in a large pot or wok over high heat. Add ground pork and when the pork is almost done add your glass noodles to the boiling water. The cooking time varies by brand, so check the package for guidance.
  • Drain the cooked pork and noodles in a sieve, then transfer them to a large mixing bowl.
  • Gently toss in the fish sauce, white sugar, pickled garlic water, coriander, Chinese celery, green onions, chilies, lime juice, onions, and tomatoes.
  • Stir in the roasted peanuts and let the salad sit for a few minutes before serving, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Avoid overcooking the glass noodles. Follow the package instructions for soaking and cooking time.
  • Adjust seasonings and spices to your personal preference.

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