In the west, salads are a staple, especially if you are trying to ‘eat right’. But when we speak of salads, we often refer to that typical combination of lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, sometimes with other ingredients like olives, beans, chicken, carrots, and the like.
But if you are itching for a change from the usual salad and salad dressing comprised of vinaigrette or Caesar’s dressing, then you should rejoice – Vietnamese salads can give you that refreshing crunch and exciting taste that you have been looking for. These Vietnamese salads are far removed from what we usually eat, and they can instantly – and quite literally – spice up your meal.
Vietnamese green papaya and beef salad
This green papaya and beef salad can be said to be the most popular type of Vietnamese salad, simply because it’s so good. Green papaya and beef salad is a staple in Vietnam, particularly in the northern part, where it is supposed to have originated. To make this delicious salad, you just have to find some common Vietnamese ingredients such as green papaya (which you can probably find in an Asian food shop), grill some beef, and combine this with a dressing made with fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and chilies. You can top this salad with chopped peanuts as well. The combination is an explosion of flavours and textures in your mouth, and you won’t be able to help asking for more.
You can also have the vegetarian version of the green papaya salad – just remove the beef from the equation. You can also replace the beef with tofu for added protein.
Vietnamese jicama and grilled beef salad
If you are looking for a salad with a twist, then a Vietnamese jicama and grilled beef salad is definitely it. Just imagine this – strips of grilled beef combined with strips of jicama make for a great (and surprisingly filling) salad, perfect for the spring or summer. If you didn’t know it yet, jicama is a kind of root crop that can be eaten raw or cooked, and you can find it in some farmers’ markets or in Asian food shops.
Vietnamese cabbage salad
Cabbage is one staple vegetable in Vietnam, and the good news is that we have plenty of that as well – so you don’t need to go hunting for it in the food shops near you. Keep in mind, though, that the Vietnamese version of a cabbage salad is spicy – but perfect for that cold winter day to keep you warm! The Vietnamese cabbage salad is often made with ingredients such as chilies, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice, plus carrots and cilantro. Add some cashews or peanuts on top, and you’re set.
If you’d like to try these Vietnamese salads but simply cannot find the ingredients or cannot do it on your own (there’s just something different about ‘authentic’ food, isn’t there?) then you can always go to the nearest Vietnamese restaurant (such as the best Vietnamese restaurant in London – VietEat) and order takeaway food without the fuss.