I was trying to duplicate the house salad at J. Liu (minus the bacon) and didn’t like the store-bought dressings I found at all. J. Liu calls theirs “sweet and sour vinaigrette,” and none of the varieties I’ve tried from the store can match it. So I was experimenting, and since I had opened a can of coconut milk for something else, thought I’d try that. Turns out it’s YUM! So here’s what I’ve come up with so far.


  • 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil (I ran out and used some canola, too)
  • 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar (maybe less would do–it’s pretty strong)
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce (Kikkoman or other real soy–not la Choy)

Shake all ingredients in a bottle or jar with a good lid. It seems to emulsify pretty well and not separate like oil and vinegar. I think that’s a balsamic thing. Ah, no, Google reveals that it’s the honey. (Mustard also works.) Another interesting thing is that it’s not the vinegar that wilts the lettuce in your leftover salad–it’s the oil! If you’re interested, you can check it out here: The Food Lab.

Salad Ingredients

  • Mixed baby greens
  • Strawberries
  • Gorgonzola cheese
  • Candied pecans

I like to use a bowl with a lid (I found a cool melamine one at the Asian market that was pretty cheap) that I can shake the whole salad in. Oh man, it’s every bit as yum as the one at J. Liu, with an added hint of coconut flavor!