BEST SALAD - 2013
Papaya salad, Mot Hai Ba
Salads do not have to comprise wilted iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots with the moisture of toothpicks and dressing weighed down with xanthan gum. Yes, some of them can be bright and refreshing. Take the papaya salad popularized in Vietnamese cooking. It's loaded with crunchy fruit, the bright acidity of lime juice and the funky pungency of fish sauce. Mot Hai Ba's take on the classic salad decimates your favorite corner takeout spot. Not only are the central ingredients brighter and snappier, but also an addition of beef jerky adds extra texture and flavor. It's kind of like bacon bits except they don't taste like sodium nitrate and dextrose — they taste like beef and delicious. And they help make this one of the best salads, papaya or otherwise, you've encountered in awhile.