glass bowl filled Vietnamese pickles with julienned slivers of daikon radish and orange carrots

Vietnamese Pickles (Do Chua)

Ribbons of daikon radish and carrots pickled in a tangy and subtly sweet brine. Vietnamese pickles may be found in rice, noodles, sandwiches, or broths for dipping. It may be thrown together very quickly and made in large batches. Vietnamese pickles are particularly loved for their ability to add a burst of umami to sandwiches, rice dishes, and other meals. They can also balance out rich dishes like chicken, pork, or steak with their acidity. Another great thing about Vietnamese pickles is that they can last for a long time in the refrigerator, making them a convenient and easy addition to meals. So why not try adding some tangy, crunchy goodness to your next meal with some Vietnamese pickles?

glass bowl filled with julienned slivers of daikon radish and orange carrots

Why This Works

Pickles are a beloved and essential part of many cuisines around the world. Pickling is a technique that preserves perishable food for extended periods of time while also adding unique textures and flavors to dishes. In Vietnamese cuisine, pickles are particularly popular and can be used to add a burst of umami to sandwiches, rice dishes, or even eaten plain. The acidity in them is great for balancing out rich dishes with chicken thighs, pork, or steak. One of the great things about Vietnamese pickles is that they can last in the refrigerator for a long time, making them a convenient and easy addition to meals. By pickling vegetables, you can enjoy their flavors and health benefits long after their season has passed.

What are Vietnamese pickles?

Pickled carrots and daikon were originally created as an economical substitute for French cornichons, which were once considered a luxury product. Vietnamese pickles (do chua) is a simple and versatile recipe that can be adjusted to your liking over time. Some people prefer a higher composition of daikon than carrots, but it’s a matter of personal preference. After the first 24 hours of pickling, you can mix the pickles and taste them to see if they require any adjustments. Depending on your personal taste preferences, you may want to add more acid, sugar, or salt to the pickling juice. Simply adjust the ingredients as needed to achieve the desired flavor. It’s important to keep in mind that the longer you let the pickles sit in the pickling juice, the more intense the flavors will become.

In addition to pickled carrots and daikon, the Vietnamese also use other varieties of pickled vegetables such as beets, garlic, mango, green papaya, and cabbage. Vietnamese pickles can be used in a variety of dishes, including rice, noodles, sandwiches, and broths for dipping. This versatility is what makes them a staple in Vietnamese cuisine.

How are Vietnamese pickles made?

Vietnamese pickles are made with raw vegetables that are shaved into thin slices or julienne strips, depending on the region. The thinner the vegetables, the faster they will pickle. To prepare the vegetables for pickling, a julienne vegetable peeler can be the most efficient tool. It’s important to invest in a quality peeler to prevent injuries.

When making the pickling juice, it can be reused up to three times before it needs to be discarded. This can be a great way to save time and reduce waste. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the flavor and quality of the pickles may change with each reuse of the pickling juice. Therefore, it’s recommended to use fresh pickling juice for the best results.

What is daikon?

Daikon is a root vegetable, also known as winter radish, that belongs to the radish family. It resembles a jumbo white carrot and can be served raw or cooked. When served raw, it has a crunchy texture and a milder flavor than red radishes. When cooked, it softens and breaks apart easily.

One thing to note is that raw daikon has a slightly pungent odor, which can become even stronger when it’s pickled. If you’re pickling daikon to make do Chua, it’s normal for the pickles to have an overpowering odor. To minimize the smell, it’s recommended to store your pickles in an airtight glass jar or lunchbox.

How to choose daikon?

Daikons generally grow in a long oblong shape but may vary in appearance. Opt for daikon that is very firm and smooth. The easiest daikons to peel are thick and straight.

glass bowl filled Vietnamese pickles with julienned slivers of daikon radish and orange carrots

What is fish sauce?

Fish sauce (nuoc mam) is a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine and is known for its dark brown, clear appearance. This fermented liquid seasoning is made from fish and is characterized by its strong, pungent aroma. It has a distinct taste that is a blend of sweet, salty, and slightly briny flavors.

How do I buy fish sauce?

With many different brands available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right nuoc mam. However, my Southeast Asian grandmother prefers the Three Crabs Brand pictured below which is reputable. Please note that there may be brands that have very similar names that are of poorer quality. If a reputable brand that you recognize is unavailable to you, consider the following:

  • Read the ingredients: Look for a high percentage of anchovy extract and salt, as this is an indication of high quality. Some lower-quality fish sauces contain added sugars, preservatives, and artificial flavors.
  • Consider the color: Fish sauce should be amber-brown in color and relatively clear. If the sauce is very dark, it may indicate over-processing or the addition of caramel color.
  • Choose a reputable brand: Look for well-established brands with a proven track record of producing high-quality fish sauce. You can also ask for recommendations from friends or family who have used fish sauce before.

How is fish sauce used?

In cooking, fish sauce is used to add saltiness and a rich umami flavor to dishes. It is commonly used as a seasoning in pho broth, as a dipping sauce in Vietnam, in marinades and sauces for Thai cuisine, and to enhance the flavor of various dishes.

glass bowl filled with julienned slivers of daikon radish and orange carrots

Vietnamese Pickles (Do Chua)

Tangy, subtly sweet, and crunchy ribbons of daikon radish and carrot slaw.
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Asian, Vietnamese
Servings 2 Quarts


  • 2 0.8 lb carrots peeled, shredded
  • 1 0.8 lb daikon peeled, shredded
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 heaping tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt


  • Prep | Using a brush or your bare hands, vigorously scrub the vegetables under cold running water until the visible dirt is rinsed off.
    Set one vegetable at a time on a cutting board and peel the skin off with a vegetable peeler. Discard all of the scraps.
    Using a vegetable shredder (julienne peeler), shred the vegetables. As you go, place the julienned vegetables in a bowl.
  • Slaw | Add in the vinegar, sugar, and sea salt. Using tongs mix well. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving, tossing at least 3 times in between.
Keyword asian food, asian food recipes, carrots, daikon, easy asian recipes, easy pickles recipe, easy recipe, easy recipe ideas, easy recipes, pickles, pickling, side dish, vegan recipes, vegetarian recipes, vietnamese food, vietnamese pickles, vietnamese recipe, vietnamese salad

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply