Papaya Salad…. one of Thailands iconic dishes.

Papaya Salad Som Tam

Papaya Salad or as it is known here, Som Tam.

One of my favorite dishes which is eaten with nearly every meal and sold everywhere on markets, by the roadside with lovely chicken or fish and a dish that I would say every visitor to Thailand will sample and remember.

You will see the trees growing everywhere in gardens, by the roadside and waste land we have at least  6 in our garden alone and not sure how many on the farm and have planted one outside our house so that anyone passing can help themselves.

The papaya tree laden with fruit:

Papaya on tree


For those of you who are not lucky enough to be able to buy green Papaya then here is the recipe for you and some alternatives if you can’t buy green papaya.


A Green Papaya…1 papaya unless you are making a huge dish full will make at least 3 two serving portions. If you keep it covered or put in a plastic bag it keeps very well in the fridge and doesn’t go brown like some fruits and vegetables once peeled.

  • 1 Carrot
  • Handful cherry Tomatoes or 2/3 med sized tomatoes.
  • 2 long green beans.
  • Dried shrimp (optional)
  • 1 Lime
  • 4/5 birds eye chillies
  • Fish Sauce.
  • Sm amount of palm sugar about a half teaspoon.


Shred green Papaya and Carrot.

Cut tomatoes up roughly in smallish pieces or cherry tomatoes in half.

Put the chilli, sugar and little fish sauce in pestle and mortar and pound away.

Add papaya, carrots, tomatoes and dried shrimps ( a bit at a time) and keep pounding.

Add lime juice and the lime cheeks, peel ..all of it….. a little more pounding, stir and serve.

Tip 1: TASTE, Taste and taste again because it is about balancing those hot, salty, sweet, sour tastes of Thai Food and your personal taste.

I find that in papaya salad the heat of the chilli is more pronounced so if you only like a little heat start with half a chilli or 1….and TASTE……lime juice and fish sauce the same… taste……..Thai food is all about balancing of the sweet, sour, spicy, salty flavours so once again TASTE as it’s very personal and individual…

I love the fish sauce so I am probably..well… nought probable about it… I am….bit free and easy with it…..but that’s my taste and maybe not yours ……I am now becoming in danger of overusing a word…but TASTE…….

Tip 2: If you cannot get Green Papaya where you live then you can use shredded Cucumber or Swede as a substitute. Both are good and particularly with the swede unless you are a connoisseur of Papaya Salad then it would be hard to call.

Another variation on the Papaya is substituting shredded  Green Bananas ..I have not seen it made everywhere… it seems to be more regional but it was good, very good.

I hope you enjoy my little recipes they are not all precisely measured but just how we do it here ….whatever we have goes in the pot or pestle i.e the addition of crab ( in its shell) and yes you do get mucky fingers because again it’s eating with what you were born with.

Som Tam with Phla

Oh, and you serve Papaya Salad with Khao Neow (sticky rice), Chicken or fish..fresh veggies of your choice….

Whatever you fancy and this is one of my favourites and so many variations..but I have found me a little man who makes it just the way I like it… Sometimes I just want to eat and the beauty of Thai street food is it is just like it has come from your own kitchen… How fresh does that  Papaya look? Freshly shredded…


So when I am on my morning walk …I tell my favourite papaya man I will be 30 mins or however long I think I may be..pick up my fresh coconut juice and then my Som Tam and maybe some freshly cooked chicken on the way back home …

I am so blessed that I have such lovely food on my doorstep.

I hope you enjoyed this post if you did please share or reblog as I am sure at least one of your friends would also love the recipe for an authentic Papaya salad and sharing is caring…

It is simple food at it’s best…

Until next time stay safe, have fun AND laugh a lot as laughter is the best medicine and IT’S FREE so please also do me a favour…ASK a question because as you know…I love it when I hear someone question something, please don’t be a follower be a questioner and ask!







42 thoughts on “Papaya Salad…. one of Thailands iconic dishes.

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    1. Carol Post author

      Sorreeee Molly…But I love my Somtam and I eat it at least 4/5 times a week I have found a little shop on my to the shops and he makes the best Somtam and I just say on my back and gesture how long and he has it waiting ..who needs language hand signals and smiles work fine…lol..Now back to the saga of the t/roll…haha…Laters 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. paulandruss

        Will do and as for sesame I honestly don’t think we can squeeze another plant into the green house.. but when we can I’ll give it a go!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Madraasi

    Papaya Salad – was one most to try in my list, recently after coming across many of this dish through T.V channels and now in blog 🙂 Sounds good and the color is awesome.


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