As Tet (Vietnamese New Year) is approaching, I started thinking about the festival and all the food stands that we’ll be sampling from next weekend. Every year, I would get the same dish–green papaya salad with shredded beef jerky (goi du du voi kho bo).
Papaya salad is a quintessential street food of Vietnam. When you’re in Saigon, you’ll see plenty of street stalls serving a constant stream of motorbike customers and pedestrians looking for a quick refreshing snack. No tables. No chairs. Just people at curbside munching on their plates of green papaya salad.
There are three different versions–papaya salad with shrimp and pork, with dried beef liver, and with beef jerky. Papaya salad with dried beef liver and beef jerky are the most common among street vendors.
I was salivating just thinking about it and couldn’t really wait for next weekend. Luckily my mom was already at a Vietnamese supermarket so I asked her to pick up a green papaya. Both versions of papaya salad with shrimp and pork and papaya salad with beef jerky are my favorite. I was too impatient to cook anything and went with the latter. I love the combination of crunch and a hint of heat in this salad. My craving is satisfied for the moment.
1 bird eye chili (optional)