Vietnamese Smoked Fish Salad

4.89 from 9 votes
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smoked fish salad recipe
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

This smoked fish salad is a hat tip to all the Southeast Asians fishing for shad on the American and Sacramento rivers near my home.

Other than a few transplanted Easterners and an even fewer number of local non-Asians, few people eat shad here in the West. I happen to think that shad is best smoked, and I’ve been making my own smoked shad for many years. But any smoked fish will work for this light, bright salad.

Smoked bonito, or smoked lake trout are good choices, as would be smoked salmon.

And honestly, really any fish cooked any way you want, so long as it can be flaked, will work. So don’t get all hung up on shad or smoked fish, although I happen to like both in this dish. Smoked foods add a mellow, savory base to all the other flavors in this salad, which are crunchy, tart and spicy.

The key here is the mix of fresh vegetables, some roasted peanuts, fish or seafood and a zippy dressing that brings it all together.

I serve this all by itself on hot days, but smoked fish salad is nice over rice, or, if you chop everything a bit smaller, as a sandwich filling.

smoked fish salad recipe
4.89 from 9 votes

Vietnamese Smoked Fish Salad

This dish doesn't exist in Vietnam, so far as I can tell, but it definitely has the flavors we all look for in that fantastic cuisine. Sweet, sour, salty, meaty, and spicy... and to this I add smoky. Any sort of flaked fish, smoked or not, will work here. 
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes



  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablesoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced and mashed
  • 1 tablespoon sambal chile sauce, or 1-2 small hot chiles, minced
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil


  • 1 pound flaked fish (ideally smoked)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded on a grater
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanuts
  • 3 to 6 green onions, sliced thin
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 to 3 serrano or jalapeno chiles, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger


  • Make the dressing by mixing all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. If you'd like, you can puree it all in a blender. The dressing will keep for a week or so in the fridge. 
  • Mix the salad ingredients in a large bowl and add dressing to taste. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature. 


Calories: 391kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 1074mg | Potassium: 875mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 3265IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

4.89 from 9 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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  1. I love Vietnamese flavors! Looking forward to trying this recipe with some albacore tuna that I smoked. I have an abundance of smoked tuna & looking for novel ways to eat it. Any other uses that you suggest? Trying to avoid high cholesterol & fatty foods, so albacore has been a real treat.

  2. 10/10 Hank! Made the recipe to the ‘t’ with some recently caught & smoked Spanish Mackerel here on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.
    Whole family thought the dish was excellent.

    1. I’m replying to my own review b/c this recipe is that good. Used some recently smoked bluefish and speckled trout from the Chesapeake Bay and this recipe is a real WOW.

  3. Made this last night. Since the supermarket tomatoes were a crime against nature, I added cukes instead. Also added a little fresh mint since I had it on hand. This was really good. Thanks, Hank.

  4. This is another good recipe! We don’t live too far from Vietnam (so I could get all ingredients except the oil), and we can get ready-made smoked fish like you would get a rotisserie chicken from Costco. I did add dill to it. Even my littlest peeps loved this recipe! Keep the good Asian friendly recipes coming!

  5. Made a variation of this tonight (w baked bluefish and BLIS smoked soy sauce bc I don’t have a grill).


    (Serpentine, Shel, serpentine).

  6. This is exactly the kind of recipe I was looking for! I’ll try it tonight with the addition of rice noodles and reply back with my rating. I’m sure it’ll be 5 stars because you can’t ever go wrong with lime juice and fish sauce, can you?!