Recipe: Chinese Chicken Salad

Back in my elementary school days, I took a cooking class.  I think it was through 4-H.  My husband thinks it’s funny that I was in 4-H because he associates it with farms and animals, but 4-H actually has a lot of other classes.  I took some good home skills classes including sewing, cooking, & crafts, and had a great time.

Chinese Chicken Salad

This recipe dates back to those days.  I learned it in the kitchen of my elementary school and have been making it ever since.  It’s a classic Chinese Chicken Salad that is crisp, fresh, and light…perfect for summer dinners!  I love the light sweet rice vinaigrette…I could literally eat it by the spoonful.  Sweet Diner loves it, too.  I think she literally had five helpings for dinner!

Chinese Chicken Salad Fried Maifun

Many people use uncooked ramen noodles or crunchy chow mein noodles in their salad, but this one uses fried maifun rice noodles, which are really fun to cook! Frying the maifun is my favorite part of making this salad (other than eating it)! The noodles start out as thin, hard, translucent sticks and then puff up into delicate white crisp tangles that are three or four times their original size.  It is so fun!

Chinese Chicken Salad Maifun

I’ve been able to find maifun in most regular grocery stores that have a decent Asian section.

The only downside to this salad is it doesn’t make good leftovers.  Since the dressing is tossed into the whole salad, the rice noodles turn soft and the lettuce wilts overnight, so keep that in mind.  If you know you will want to save leftovers, I would suggest mixing up only part of the salad and saving the dressing and rice noodles separately to toss together with the rest of the salad later.

Chinese Chicken Salad
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 4-6
  • 2-3 Chicken breast halves (can also use rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 ounce Maifun rice sticks (a little goes a long way)
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted almonds, slivered
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  1. Cook chicken breasts (can grill, boil, bake...whatever method you'd like), shred meat, and refrigerate.
  2. Heat 1" of oil in a large frying pan or wok over med-high heat. Test heat by putting one piece of rice stick in the oil. If it sizzles and puffs up within a second or two, but doesn't burn right away, it is the right temperature. Fry a small handful of rice sticks at a time, removing each batch to a plate with paper towels to drain. They will triple in size and cook quickly, so remove as soon as they have puffed up. You may need to flip them to get them completely fried if you put in a large batch or don't have enough oil. Set aside.
  3. Toss all salad ingredients except rice sticks in a large bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients. Stir until sugar dissolves. Pour over salad and toss well until all is evenly coated.
  5. Add rice sticks to the top & carefully toss lightly.
All ingredients can be prepared the day before, then tossed together just before serving. If you prefer more dressing, prepare 1.5-2 times the dressing recipe, but the original recipe is enough to lightly coat the salad.


Average Fork Rating: 4.2
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  1. That looks great! Nice and simple, and perfect for summer!

  2. Oh yum! This looks perfect to add to the summer menu!

  3. Wow, I just happen to have a package of those rice sticks in my cupboard. Not sure how it got there but now I know what I’m going to do with it. Love Chinese chicken salad and i’m excited to try it at home. Thx!

  4. I remember eating this. Yummy! I can’t wait to make it.


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