Whenever I visit Vietnam, I’m always on the lookout for something light and refreshing to combat the hot and humid weather. In the evening during the Summer months, my local aunts and I would finally brave the outside and head to a park in Saigon where young people and love birds come to congregate and eat. There we would find a stump or a small plastic stool to sit on, as we wave down one of the bajillion street food vendors hawking their specialties. One of our favorite snacks is from the Goi Du Du lady, who serves Goi Du Du Bo Kho from the mini restaurant she built on the back of her bike.
Goi Du Du Bo Kho is a refreshing Vietnamese green papaya and beef jerky salad. It is topped with roasted peanuts, Thai Basil leaves and dressed in a sweet vinegary soy sauce. All the components in this salad create the perfect harmony of flavor and texture.
The unripe thinly sliced green papaya provides a nice crunch and chew. Thai basil leaves and roasted peanuts provide great aroma, as well as crunch. And the addition of thinly shredded beef jerky provides the savory protein component that is just plain awesome and delicious. Everything is tossed together in small plastic bag and simply handed to you with pair of chop sticks. Eating Goi Du Du Bo Kho straight from a bag, all the while balancing on a flimsy plastic stool are all part of the night time fun in Vietnam.
I got the beef jerky for this salad in San Jose, CA, where the epitome of all things Vietnamese in California exists. It’s a lot sweeter than the more traditional Western beef jerky. You don’t need this type of sweet beef jerky to make the dish but highly recommended for a more authentic Vietnamese flavor. Enjoy the recipe below. A-peace!
Vietnamese Green Papaya and Beef Jerky Salad (Goi Du Du Bo Kho)
- 2/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced red chili (optional)
- 1 medium unripe papaya (peel and cut into thin strips)
- 1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves
- 2 cups of thinly shredded beef jerky (Vietnamese/Asian sweet variety)
- 1 cup roasted peants (coarsely chopped)
Vinegar & Soy Salad Dressing
- For the soy salad dressing, add all the ingredients together in a small bowl and mix until sugar is completely dissolved.
- In a large bowl, add papaya and basil, then top with with beef jerky and peanuts. Add as much or little the soy salad dressing as you like. Give it a quick toss before serving.