Salad Platter

Dĩa Xà Láoh

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Little Saigon Cookbook: Vietnamese Cuisine And Culture In Southern California's Little Saigon

Little Saigon Cookbook

By Ann Le

Published 2011

  • About

One of the most important components of the Vietnamese dining experience is the salad platter. Xa lach, loosely translated, means “salad.” The quintessential salad platter (below) is composed of various fresh, leafy herbs, both common ones like mint and cilantro and more Vietnamese herbs such as coriander and perilla. It is the individual herbs that are of particular importance. They each represent a specific flavor–lemony zing, peppery, pungent, sweet–that can be plucked from the platter to match Vietnamese dishes. The basic salad platter also includes red or green leaf lettuce (or any other fresh lettuce), sliced cucumbers, lime wedges to be squeezed over the appropriate dishes, and Thai chiles (left whole on the platter to be broken and shared by the entire group). Sometimes pickled shallots or carrots are included. The salad platter, along with hot steamed rice and dipping sauce, is served at practically every meal. Even with your run-of-the-mill Vietnamese dinner, you need your plate of herbs with your rice. You are forever dipping and wrapping these herbs around foods or adding them straight to your rice or noodle bowl. Make sure everyone’s hands are clean! It is really what sets Vietnamese food apart and what makes it so special–that we would demand to have a bite of fresh coriander or Thai basil with each spoonful of plain steamed rice. Each recipe may call for a different composition for the salad platter, and will be so noted.