Som Tam – Papaya Salad

It has been a while since I posted anything on here. Our summer was a bit crazy and although we ate some amazing food back in Britain, not much of it was that interesting or different. We seemed to eat more curries than we had days and we spent lots of time cooking and eating foods we missed from home.

This post thought is actually from our trip to Thailand back at Christmas this year. At the end of our honeymoon trip to Borneo, Malaysia and Thailand we spent a few days in Bangkok. I have a couple of absolute favourites when I am in Thailand. One of which is Som Tam or papaya salad (ส้มตำ). This salad is a street food favourite, with stalls on many street corners. They are easy to spot with the distinctive large wooden mortar.

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We visited a street restaurant we have eaten at previously and shared som tam, I also ordered noodle soup and John had a fried meat dish called Pad Kra Pow (minced meat fried with chilli and thai basil).

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I took this opportunity to watch the vendor making the som tam closely and I also took the following photos.

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When making som tam they add garlic, chilli, fish sauce, palm sugar and lime juice to the mortar. Peanuts are also added at this point. They add a nice texture and flavour to the salad. All these ingredients are  crushed first using the pestle and then the fresh green papaya is added. The ingredients are all mixed together to ensure the papaya is covered in the sauce.

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The salad is usually served with sticky rice and grilled chicken. This used to be a staple dinner for me when I lived in Bangkok. It brings back great memories.