So I realize that Thai mango salad noodles is quite a mouthful – but there really is no better way to describe this dish, except to say that it’s what happens when you’re craving the sweet & sour freshness of mango salad, but also carbs.
Mango salad was one of the first Thai dishes I ever tasted – along with spring rolls, hot & sour soup, and – of course – pad thai. For months my mom had been lunching with friends at the same little hole-in-the-wall in Toronto’s Greek Town (weird I know), and she finally convinced me to give it a try. At thirteen, I wasn’t quite as ‘adventurous’ with food as I am now – Italian and Chinese were about as far as I cared to venture from standard ‘North American cuisine’, whatever that is! But suffice it to say that I instantly fell in love with the dishes we ordered. Thus began a little ritual, and for almost ten years we managed to have lunch at that same little place at least once a month. We’ve even gotten their takeaway for at least one Christmas dinner. When I think of Thai food, I think of the food at that specific diner, and I have yet to find a place I enjoy quite as much.
(Also, fun aside: Thai food in the Netherlands is like a whole other cuisine than Thai food in Toronto. I’m not sure how that can be, but it is, and I have stayed loyal to the Toronto variety!)
This Thai mango salad recipe comes as close to the diner’s version as I have ever managed to get – and it’s so easy it sort of feels like cheating. It’s delicious on its own, but toss some soba noodles in there and you’ve got yourself a complete meal that’s both healthy and yet also super comforting. (If you do decide to skip the noodles, go easy on the dressing or you’ll have yourself a mango soup!)
By the way: I’ve built the ‘salad’ component as a sort of copy-cat version of the one at the diner, but feel free to do the same and copy your own favourite! You could use cashews instead of peanuts, throw some bean sprouts or some thinly-sliced cucumber in there, and really just make it your own.
A simple recipe for my take on a Thai mango salad, tossed with soba noodles for a more filling meal.
The dressing is adapted from this recipe (the vegetarian version). Because soya sauce lacks the funky flavour of fish sauce, I find that adding just a bit more lime juice than the original recipe calls for really brings the dish to life and gives it a bit of a punchy kick.
This dish is delicious to eat as soon as it's prepared, but is the sort of thing that will only get better as it sits and the flavours all have a chance to come together.