Fresh herbs, crispy shreds of papaya, crunchy pickled vegetables, and spicy nuoc mam cham encompasses all the flavors of Vietnamese cuisine.
Traditional Vietnamese goi du du is a simple combination of shredded green papaya, coarsely chopped basil, and strips of sweet and spicy kho bo (beef jerky) doused with a spicy soy based sauce. While this is enjoyable it doesn't have the complex flavors compared with other Vietnamese salads which are filled with a multitude of fresh herbs and pickled vegetables, a wonderful medley of textures and flavors topped off by crushed peanuts and a spicy nuoc mam cham sauce. In this version of papaya salad, we use similar ingredients as our previous salads goi hoa sen and goi tom with one special exception: crispy anchovies.
Like croutons, many Vietnamese goi have a crispy crunch to them, often from crushed peanuts or crispy fried shallots. Crispy anchovies however provide a totally new level of crunch and flavor. It's an umami packed punch. This idea came from watching Luke Nguyen's Vietnam on the Cooking Channel where he used crispy anchovies on a mango dish. If you like cooking shows, you must watch – it's one of the best cooking shows we've seen.