Nộm đu đủ bò khô – A light and refreshing salad for a summer day

Summer is on its way bringing the typical heat with humidity to Hanoi. Around this time of the year, everyone often avoids eating out, especially during daytime at small shops and by street food stalls, which are not equipped with air-conditioner, to get rid of the heat and sunburn. However, there is a shop specializing in one dish which is always filled with customers all day. You might be curious about what the dish is and the answer is nộm đu đủ bò khô (green papaya salad with beef jerky).

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If you are on the lookout for something light, quick and refreshing as a snack, this salad will be the perfect choice because it does not require any cooking, just mixing all the ingredients with a sweet and sour dressing. The main ingredients consist of unripe papaya, carrot, beef jerky, basil, mint, peanut, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, vinegar and red peppers. However, sometimes the recipe is given with modern twist to bring new experiences to customers when they try this old dish.

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Green papaya, like most green fruit, is unripe and not at all sweet and it has a really interesting texture – crunchy and slightly chewy at the same time. To make the salad, it would be peeled and grated into thin strips, then dip in cold water to prevent it from turning brown. After being drained, green papaya will be mixed with grated carrot, basil, mint and the dressing which is made of fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, water and garlic with an appropriate ratio of each ingredient. The mixture then becomes softer and absorbs all flavors from the dressing which creates a balance of saltiness, sweetness and sourness. Peanuts and shredded beef jerky will be added just before serving in order to keep their flavors and texture.

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You will fall in love with how all of the flavors came together for this salad. The basil was potent and aromatic, the peanuts gave it a nice crunch, and the fish sauce made it tangy. The longer you toss the salad, the better green papaya and carrot can be marinated. Most of the time these salads are served in small portions as snacks or appetizers but feel free to heap-on a generous amount or order 1 or 2 more portions to call it a meal.

The most famous shops for this salad are located on Ho Hoan Kiem street, the shortest streets of Hanoi, which is only 52m long. Besides, there are some more vendors sitting inside the Old Quarter which you can find the address below:

– 23 Ho Hoan Kiem street

– 53 Dinh Tien Hoang street

– Thanh Ha lane, Hoan Kiem district

– 107 Ma May street

– 25 Ham Long street

– 17 Pham Hong Thai street

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