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Yum Woon Sen

Yum Woon Sen, or Thai Glass Noodle Salad, is a delightfully light and refreshing dish. Tender, translucent mung bean noodles mingle with seasoned ground meat, plump shrimp, crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs, and a tangy dressing made with lime juice and fish sauce.

High angle shot of a plate of pad woon sen or thai glass noodle salad.

Why we love Yum Woon Sen

  • Yum Woon Sen is both filling and light—it makes a great light dinner or lunch on a warm summer day.
  • It’s loaded with tasty bits—ground meat, juicy tomatoes, plump shrimp, aromatic fresh herbs, and more.
  • This Yum Woon Sen recipe is really quick to make! You can have it on the table in 20 minutes.
  • This easy Thai stir fry salad is as good as any you’ll get in a Thai restaurant.
  • It’s naturally gluten-free and dairy-free (be sure to read label as some packaged foods may contain unexpected ingredients).

What is the difference between Yum Woon Sen, Pad See Ew, and Pad Thai?

These three Thai noodle dishes differ in the type of noodle they contain, how you prepare them, and how you season them.

Yum Woon Sen uses thin bean thread noodles, called glass noodles, cellophane noodles, or bean thread noodles. Yum woon sen is a noodle salad, so the noodles aren’t fried. It contains uncooked veggies like red onion or shallot, tomatoes, chiles, and cilantro. The Yum Woon Sen sauce is a bright dressing made of lime juice and fish sauce.

closeup shot of a plate of Thai glass noodle salad.

Pad See Ew uses wide, flat rice noodles cooked with sliced meat and dark, leafy vegetables like gai lan (Chinese broccoli). It’s stir fried (pad) and the sauce combines soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, and just a touch of sugar.

Pad Thai uses wide, flat rice noodles stir fried with shrimp, peanuts, egg, and fried tofu. It’s also prepared by stir frying and the seasoning is tamarind paste, fish sauce, garlic, chiles, and palm sugar. You serve these stir-fry noodles hot, garnished with fresh mung bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, and lime juice.

Overhead shot of the ingredients needed to make pad woon sen.

What is Yum Woon Sen Made Of?

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

This Thai Glass Noodle Salad uses mostly basic pantry ingredients. There are just a couple of items that might require a trip to an Asian market or a little online shopping. Here are the ingredients you need:

  • Chile peppers: I usually use red serrano peppers from my garden, but you can use Thai chiles, red jalapenos, fresno chiles, or any hot red pepper you like.
  • Garlic: If you can, use fresh minced garlic here for the best flavor.
  • Sugar: I love using palm sugar that I buy at my local Thai market or Asian supermarket (you can also buy it online), but you can substitute brown sugar if you like.
  • Limes: Freshly squeezed lime juice gives the dressing its citrusy bite. Plus, I like to garnish the salad with lime wedges because they look pretty.
  • Fish sauce: Just about every Thai recipe uses fish sauce. It’s a ubiquitous ingredient, adding salt and umami, and a distinctively Southeast Asian flavor.  My favorite fish sauce is 3 Crabs brand, but there are lots of choices available in Asian markets, most supermarkets, and online.
  • Noodles: The noodles in this salad are called mung bean noodles, glass noodles, cellophane noodles, or bean thread vermicelli. You can buy them in a Thai grocery, an Asian supermarket, or online.
  • Ground meat: I use ground pork, but you can substitute ground chicken or ground turkey.
  • Shrimp: Plump shrimp add a bit more texture and protein, plus they look pretty! You could leave these out if you like.
  • Veggies: Red onion (or substitute shallot), cherry tomatoes, green onions provide color and flavor.
  • Garnishes: Chopped roasted peanuts add crunch and chopped cilantro adds a pop of color and fresh herb flavor.
Overhead shot of the ingredients needed to make pad woon sen noodle salad dressing.

How to make this Thai glass noodle salad

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

This Thai glass noodle salad is quick and easy to make. Here’s how:

  1. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package then drain and immediately rinse with cold water to stop their cooking. You can use a pair of kitchen shears to cut the noodles into shorter lengths if you like.
  2. Make the dressing in a large bowl by combining the chiles, garlic, palm sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce.
  3. Add the shrimp and onion to the dressing in the bowl and toss to coat them well. Let the shrimp and onion marinate in the dressing while you prepare the other ingredients.
  4. Brown the pork with a bit of salt in a large skillet. Drain off any excess fat and add the pork to the bowl with the shrimp and dressing.
  5. Add the noodles, tomatoes, and green onions to the bowl and toss to combine.
  6. Serve immediately topped with chopped peanuts and cilantro.

How do you serve it?

I serve this refreshing glass noodle stir fry salad as an appetizer or first course to a Thai meal or as a light dinner or lunch salad. Add some Thai Curry Puffs, Chicken Satay, Fish Cakes, Thai Turkey Meatballs, Thai Pumpkin Curry, or Thai Red Curry Chicken to make it a generous Thai food meal.

overhead shot of a plate of pad woon sent.

Check out my other Asian stir-fried noodles

If you love stir-fry Asian noodles, don’t miss my Singapore Noodles, Chinese Sesame Noodles, Vegetarian Dan Dan Noodles, Burmese Garlic Noodles, Beef Yakisoba, or Shrimp Yakisoba.

Yield: Serves 4

Yum Woon Sen or Thai Glass Noodle Salad

Low angle shot of a plate of Pad Woon Sen.

Yum Woon Sen, or Thai Glass Noodle Salad, is a delightfully light and refreshing dish. Tender, translucent mung bean noodles (also called glass noodles or bean thread vermicelli) are tossed with seasoned ground meat, plump shrimp, crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs, and a tangy dressing made with lime juice and fish sauce.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the dressing

  • 1 or 2 hot red chile peppers, finely minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce

For the salad

  • 6 ounces bean thread vermicelli
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 medium-sized cooked and peeled tail-on shrimp
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • ⅓ cup roasted unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package then drain and immediately rinse in cold water to cool them down so they stop cooking. If desired, cut the noodles into shorter lengths with a pair of kitchen shears.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the chiles, garlic, and sugar. Add the lime juice and fish sauce and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the shrimp and sliced red onion to the dressing and toss to coat well. Let stand for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  4. Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the pork and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is browned and cooked through. Drain off any excess fat and add the pork to the bowl with the shrimp and dressing.
  5. Add the noodles, tomatoes, and green onions to the bowl and toss to combine.
  6. Serve immediately topped with chopped peanuts and cilantro.

Notes

The salad can be made ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Add the chopped peanuts and cilantro just before serving.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 449Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 56mgSodium 706mgCarbohydrates 48gFiber 7gSugar 19gProtein 25g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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By on November 17th, 2022

ABOUT ROBIN DONOVAN

Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 50 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners5 Ingredient Cooking for TwoSushi at HomeThe Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. → More about Robin

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