Squid salad with Taiwanese five-flavour sauce

Salad is always one of the best foods to eat during the summer time. In fact salad is great to eat anytime of the year but one of my favourite summer dishes is this squid salad with Taiwanese five-flavour sauce (五味醬). My husband is only now really warming to salad in his mid thirties but I made this the other day and everyone, my daughter included, loved it.

Taiwanese five-flavour sauce is a popular dipping sauce for seafood in Taiwan. Taiwanese people serve this sauce with raw oysters, cooked prawns, cooked squid, octopus and mussels. You will see this sauce in every seafood restaurant in Taiwan.

This five-flavour sauce as the name suggests embraces five different flavours; sour, sweet, bitter, spicy and pungent. I added some olive oil to this recipe because I hope people can use this sauce as a salad dressing rather than just a dipping sauce. You can adjust the amount of seasonings as per your personal preference. I found the kitchen I got from the supermarkets here in the UK is quite sour so sometimes I will add a little extra sugar to make this sauce sweeter. You can replace the vinegar with rice vinegar, sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar as you wish.

If you are not sure about cross-cutting the squid or you think it’s simply too much hassle or will take too long, then cut the squid into rings or simply dice it. Any method is complete fine. Cooking should be both enjoyable and free and you should never be bounded by a recipe. When I worked as a fine dining chef we were bound by recipes, and that was fine for that cooking scenario, but in my personal cooking I like to improvise a lot. That way rather than eating someone else’s preference you’re discovering your own.

Also if you don’t like boiled or blanched squid, then you can try to chargrill the squid.

I hope you like this simple, quick and delicious salad dish from my home country Taiwan.


A little bit of an update about my life:

I’m now working on a few exciting illustration projects right now which is making me really happy but also super busy. As you’ll know I was a full time fine dining chef a few years but I’ve spent the past five years studying illustration to try to turn my life and career around. Now instead of working all kinds of awful hours with poor pay and even worse conditions I’m now able to
dictate how much and when I’m work, so I’m super happy about that.

I’m also trying to find a new home right now. Over five years ago Chris and I working not brilliant jobs and even though Chris’ earnings went up my earnings hadn’t because I sacrificed work to become a student. So right now we’re still renting and we’re looking for not only a bigger flat with more space and a bigger kitchen we’re also looking into catchment areas f
or our daughter’s school.

In case you’re not familiar with a catchment area, in the UK your child can only go to the school designated for the postcode you live in. The small block of flats we live in is fine but the nearest primary school is in Muirhouse which is a really god awful area. Have you ever watched Trainspotting? Well Irvine Welse, the author, is from Muirhouse and the ideas and story
behind Trainspotting came from Muirhouse. Statistically out of 86 primary schools in Edinburgh, our local is the worst. So we need to move.

So right now I work as an illustrator during the day time but at night I’m a food writer and food blogger. So you can imagine I need a really decent size kitchen t work in. My current kitchen is the size of a birdcage so making complex dishes, the ones where you need to cook multiple things at once while having all the space you need for prep, plating etc is really difficult. As it stands we’ve applied for a new housing development being built in a good area of Edinburgh but Edinburgh is so damn expensive nowadays (easily £1000 a month for a 2 bedroom flat) we’re also considering moving just outside of Edinburgh so Amelia can have a garden, we can have a bigger property and we can save money.

So wish me luck finding a new property and hope you like this recipe for Squid Salad with Taiwanese Five-Flavour Sauce.



Squid salad with Taiwanese five-flavour sauce

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 people



  • 370 g squid tube clean, wash and cross-cut
  • 140 g broccoli cut into small florets
  • 6 babycorn cut into half
  • 6 cherry tomatoes cut into half

Ingredients for five-flavour sauce

  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp black vinegar
  • 1 tsp ginger finely chop
  • 1 tsp garlic finely chop
  • 1 tbsp coriander finely chop


  1. Mix all the ingredients for five-flavour sauce in a small bowl and leave it aside for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Boil some water in a saucepan and blanch the broccoli until it’s tender. Take it out from the water and cool down immediately under cold water. Then drain the water. Leave it aside.
  3. Keep the water from blanched broccoli and blanch the baby corn in the same way. Cool down immediately under cold water then drain the water. Leave it aside.
  4. Use step 3 water to blanch squid for 30 seconds then cool down immediately under cold water. Then drain the water and leave it aside.
  5. Place broccoli, baby corn, cherry tomato and squid on a serving plate and you can drizzle the sauce on top or you can just serve the sauce on the side. So people can use the sauce as dipping sauce.

Thai Rice Noodle Seafood Salad

Today’s new recipe is Thai Rice Noodle Seafood Salad but before I talk about this recipe I have some huge news. I QUIT MY CHEF JOB!

Yes, I handed in my notice on Saturday, packed all my belongings, handed in my keys and left. I haven’t had a chance to say goodbye to all of my colleagues who were really kind to me so I decided to use this blog post to tell them “thank you” for looking after me and for tolerating me during my “silly” moments at work. I’m proud to say I’ve made some real friends at work and will miss a lot of people. It was a really interesting 4 years, 6 months and 4 days (OCD side showing itself) and there were a lot of great moments I’ll remember.

However, I have been unhappy working as a chef for some time (not necessarily because of the place I worked at) and with recent events, my new career which is coming on really well and my husband picking up a lot more work we made the decision for me to quit work and focus full time on my illustration business. That’s not to say I won’t be cooking anymore, if anything the total opposite. Before with work, child, university and everything else I simply had no time for updating this blog but although I’m busy with the illustration side of things I’ll have a lot more time to cook new recipes and update this website.

Recently my health has been a bit funny. Earlier this year I had my gallbladder removed and with the recent travelling, stresses of dealing with my father’s death and jumping from 40C in Taiwan to Scottish autumn 12-15C, my body has been playing up so I’m really into eating light dishes like salads and seafood. I really love all of the main ingredients in this dish so I made a Thai Rice Noodle Seafood Salad. This dish is everything I need right now; sweet, sour, refreshing, light and a little spicy.

I used prawns, mussels and squid in this recipe but there are so many other kinds of seafood you can use for this dish such as scallops, fish meat, langoustine, crab meat etc. So in effect you can use any seafood you want in this recipe.

Hope you like my Thai Rice Noodle Seafood Salad recipe.


thai rice noodle seafood salad

Thai Rice Noodle Seafood Salad

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 people



  • 250 g rice noodle
  • 150 g prawns
  • 500 g mussels
  • 200 g squid
  • 12 cherry tomatoes cut into half

Ingredients for dressing

  • 1 tbsp lemon grass finely chop
  • 1 handful coriander finely chop
  • 1 tbsp spring onions finely chop
  • 1 chili finely chop
  • 1 tsp ginger finely chop
  • 1 lemon zest and juice


  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Mix all of the ingredients for making the dressing in a bowl
  2. Clean the squid and cross-cut it
  3. Boil a pot of water and blanch the squid and rinse it in cold water after it’s cooked. The squid only needs 2-3 minutes to cook
  4. Blanch the prawns and rinse in cold water after they are cooked. Peel the shell after the prawns have cooled down
  5. Wash and remove all the dirt on the mussels. Steam for 3-5 minutes then leave to cool down. Once cooled down remove the shells
  6. Boil a pot of water to blanch the rice noodle and the soak rice noodle in cold water after it’s cooked. Drain the water and leave it aside. Use a pair of scissors to cut the rice noodles a few times just incase they are too long to eat
  7. Mix everything together in a big bowl and taste it. Adjust the seasoning for personal taste. Ready to serve!