Beef jerky salad is a delight on Hanoi’s culinary scene that originated from Chinese community during the French colonial era.
Since 1954, many natives of the northern province of Nam Dinh migrated to Hanoi and capitalized on this dish with their own twist. You can also find it in Saigon, though it might be made differently there.
While Hanoi uses beef, Saigon sellers would use innards, like cow lungs or spleen, resulting in different tastes.
Many Old Quarter stalls in Hanoi serve the Vietnamese beef jerky salad.
While many stalls serve this delicacy, many aficionados favor a stall on Hoe Nhai Street for its half beef, half rib salad.
Beef jerky salad is not complete unless decent slices of a green papaya are added. You can also choose to add pig ears or skin to the salad, which served with assorted aromatic herbs. The sweet and sour dip sauce is made with fish sauce diluted with vinegar. Many stalls use soy sauce to make this dip.
The dish gets added texture with coarsely ground roasted peanuts sprinkled on top. The peanuts are roasted every day so that it tastes fresh.
Dried beef prepared for the salad mix.
The spring rolls served at this stall are stuffed with vegetables and pork skin. Each bite gives a feel of the enderness of the roll and the crispiness of the skin.
Depending on personal preferences, the pork skin in the spring roll can be replaced with beef.
Located on the sidewalk of Hoe Nhai Street, this stall can accommodate 10 eaters at a time. That leaves the seller with very little space to sit and prepare the dishes.
The food starts selling like hot cakes at 3 p.m. and runs out in about four hours.
It’s common for customers to order the rolls and salad together for a big afternoon snack.
One satisfied customer said: "Having eaten the salad and rolls here, I don't want to go anywhere else for these dishes."