Drive by the Hai Bà Trưng side of Lê Văn Tám Park any night of the week after sunset and you will notice crowds of people sitting in the dark, happily shoveling salad into their mouths.
Join the crowd–you will be happy you did. Just walk toward Võ Thị Sáu, make a “1” with your finger to the busy looking people hurrying up and down the sidewalks hauling massive trays stacked with plates. Now plop down on linoleum scrap tiles; which, placed conveniently on the cement ledges, make perfectly legitimate seats. Watch the nearby park walkers and await your special treat.
As someone who is a big fan of green papaya salad, and of street food in general, I was not disappointed by this version. Finely shredded green papaya, on a bed of sweet and spicy sauce tossed with fresh basil, and peanuts; topped with crispy rice chips and finally, what is easily the best homemade beef jerky I’ve ever consumed. Just the right amount of tender, juicy, crunchy, sweet, spicy and salty. A party in my mouth. Addicting. All for a whopping 18,000đ a plate. My only complaint is the size; I almost always have no choice but to order two. It’s more of an appetizer than a meal.
I fear that it is now impossible for me to drive by Lê Văn Tám Park in the evening without stopping for an order. See you there?