Som Tum

Green Papaya Salad


Although it originates from the north-east of Thailand, som tum can easily be found all over Bangkok. Street food vendors who serve the salad can usually be found near other food stalls selling grilled pork and glutinous rice because it is the perfect accompaniment. Served as an appetiser, this light, refreshing salad will whet your appetite for the meal ahead.


  • 1 large green papaya
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3 bird’s eye chillies, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped peanuts
  • ground white pepper, to taste
  • a few lettuce and cabbage leaves
  • 3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced


  1. Peel and slice the papaya into half. Using a spoon, scrape out and discard the seeds. Grate the papaya coarsely.
  2. Toss the grated papaya with the garlic, chillies, fish sauce, lemon juice and chopped peanuts. Season with pepper.
  3. Arrange the lettuce and cabbage leaves on a serving plate. Top with the grated papaya salad.
  4. Serve garnished with tomato slices.