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)