Som Tam (Thai Papaya Salad)

Som Tam (Thai Papaya Salad)-Thai Food

Som Tam is one of the top ranking of Thai cuisines which is very popular among the foreigners with its full savory flavor in hot and spicy, so can be considered one of the significant Thai dishes.

About Som Tam

Som Tam or Spicy Papaya Salad is a Thai dish originated from somewhere in the Northeastern regions of Thai and Laos. Mostly Som Tam has raw papaya which is cut into strips as a main ingredient mixed together with other ingredients such as grape tomatoes, roasted peanuts, dried shrimp, chili and garlic and seasoning with fish sauce, palm sugar, pickled crab or pickled fish. The core flavors of Papaya Salad should be sour and spicy and a little salty. Regularly, it’s served with sticky rice, grilled chicken and variety of fresh vegetables for example cabbage, string green bean or water morning glory etc. as a side dish.

Nutritions from Papaya Salad

Nutritions from the Ingredients of Papaya Salad

Som Tam contains a lot of nutritions and medical benefits from its ingredients which mostly are fresh vegetables for instance; 

Raw papaya: Helps to increase milk supply for mother, excrete parasites, mitigate dysentery, decrease scurvy, mitigate hemorrhoids, motivate digestive system, drive bile and lymph.   

Tomatoes: It has a tart flavor, can be used to garnish and enhance the taste of food and it also help to catharsis and are skin nourishing. 

Thai or Wild olive: With its tart, harsh and sweet flavors it has benefits in treatment of dyspepsia from bile, decrease scurvy. A ripe wild olive helps to freshen the throat and reduce thirst. 

Birds chili: With a hot taste, it can motivate digestive system, help in carminative.

Garlic: With its hot and spicy flavors can help in carminative, cough remedy, motivate digestive system and support in dermatologic agents. The oil within garlic can decrease the growth of fungus, bacteria and viruses. Moreover, can reduce sugar and fat in blood veins.

Lime: The bitter taste from the peel can help to excrete gas. Its flesh has sharp tart flavor that can help to reduce phlegm, cough remedy, decrease scurvy and help in blood purifying.

Side dish vegetables like string green bean helps the process of stomach and intestine and maintain earth element in the body. Cabbage helps to motivate the process of stomach and maintain fire element in the body.

Variety of Som Tam

Variety of Papaya Salad put different ingredient, pork,corn,shrimp,egg

Howsoever, Som Tam has been modified to have more varieties of recipe presently which are Som Tam Thai, Som Tam with pickled crab and fish, Som Tam with salted egg, Som Tam with pork crackling, Som Tam with Thai style white pork sausage and many other mix-ins. Mostly, there’s some Thai menus which we may have with Som Tam such as Spicy minced pork salad or Larb, Spicy Grilled pork salad or Nam Tok Moo, Grilled chicken, Sticky rice or Thai rice vermicelli. For many people Papaya Salad can be something that only a mention about can get their mouth watering.  

Here, we will suggest you a recipe of Som Tum called Som Tam Thai which is very popular among Som Tam lovers. Let’s go to see how to cook.

Som Tam Thai or Thai Style Papaya Salad

How to Make Som Tam Thai food


  • Raw papaya, cut in thin stripe 2 cups
  • Carrot, cut in thin stripe ½ cup
  • Straw green bean, cut to 1 inch length ½ cup
  • Fish sauce 2 tablespoons
  • Palm sugar 1 ½ tablespoons (If you don’t have palm sugar can substitute with fine sugar) 
  • Lime juice 3 tablespoon
  • Grape tomatoes, cut to half  ½ cup
  • Dried shrimp 1/3 cup
  • Roasted peanut ¼ cup
  • Bird’s chili 10 seeds (can add/reduce as prefer)
  • Fresh medium garlic 5 cloves


1. Add garlic and chili in a mortar and pound to rough pieces then add dried shrimp and continue to pound.

2. Then add palm sugar and pound until the sugar is melted, then add papaya, carrot, straw green bean, tomatoes, peanut and flavor with fish sauce and lime juice. The pound together until it mixes well.   

3. This Som Tam should be mellow taste of sweet, spicy and sour equally, anyhow can add more sugar, lime juice or fish sauce by preferring.  

4. Put in a dish and topped with roasted peanut and serve with fresh vegetables (cabbage, straw green bean, Thai water morning glory etc.) and warm sticky rice.

Tips to Make Delicious Thai Style Som Tam

  • Mortar to be used in cooking Papaya Salad should be wooden mortar that will not allow the ingredients will be crushed to much
  • Do not crush papaya too long due to keep its crunch. So, should gently pound and stir together to mix it well.
  • To add flavor, do not add seasonings too much in the first place. It would be better to add the flavor later because if the taste is too strong it will be difficult to adjust later.
  • A trick to keep papaya to be fresh and crunchy for longer is when strip the papaya then should soak it in cold water or add ice in the water. This will make papaya to be crunchy and make Papaya Salad is tastier. 


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