Vietnamese papaya salad with beef jerky

Saturday, February 14, 2015

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. 

Green papaya salad with shredded beef jerky (Goi du du voi kho bo)

1 small green papaya (1-1.5 lb), peeled and seeded
3 tbsp salt and water (for cleaning papaya)
1 ½ cup of water
¼ cup of rice vinegar
¾ cup of shredded beef jerky
3 sprigs of Thai basil leaves, julienned
3 sprigs of Vietnamese coriander (rau ram), julienned


¼ cup of water
¼ cup of Hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Sriracha sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 bird eye chili (optional)

1. Use a mandoline to julienne the papaya.
2. Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water and add 1 tbsp of salt.  Soak the papaya in water for 3 minutes.  Pour the papaya in a colander and squeeze out any excess water with your hand.  Repeat two more times.  (This step removes the bitter taste from papaya and keeps the texture crisp.)
3. In a large bowl, combine water and vinegar.  Mix well.  Add the papaya to the bowl and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
4. For the sauce, whisk together water, Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, Sriracha, and sugar.  
5. Add the salad onto a serving platter, add shredded beef jerky, and garnish with fresh herbs.
6. Drizzle the sauce onto the salad and mix well before eating.


  1. This looks amazing! I can't wait to get a kitchen again so I can try it. There is a similar green papaya salad here in Thailand and I have had it at least once a day since we have been here, it is a little sweet, a little hot and completely addictive!

  2. Hi Katy! I like the Thai version too. It definitely has more heat though. Does the one you eat have cherry tomotoes or long beans? I'm waiting for another weekend to try the version from the Pok Pok cookbook. Btw, I love the name of your blog and was curious as to why fruits and not something else?