Som Tam ส้มตำ
Famous and widely available throughout the country, is Thailand’s green papaya salad, known much better as som tam (ส้มตำ).
The fresh ingredients that go intosom tam (ส้มตำ) often include: shredded green papaya, tomatoes, string beans, dried shrimp, garlic, and chillies, peanuts, and sometimes (depending on where you go and what’s available and what version you order) fresh rawThai eggplant and carrots.
There are many variations of som tam (ส้มตำ), some including fermented fish sauce or crab, here are some of the versions you can taste:
- Som tam thai – This version of Thai green papaya salad is the least fishy flavored, and is pretty much slivers of green papaya dressed in a sweet and sour lime juice dressing. The full recipe is quite healthy, but sometimes, because it includes palm sugar, it can be a little too sweet. So normally if I order som tam thai, I’ll ask for, “mai wan,” which means not sweet.
- Som tam boo pla ra – This is probably the most beloved by locals Thais, especially those who are from Isan (northeastern) province of Thailand. Along with green papaya, the salad also includes fermented fish sauce and crab.
- Som tam Laos – Probably my favorite version of som tam, is the Loas version, which is also widely available at any Isan restaurant in Thailand. Som tam Laos uses the fermented shrimp paste, but not the crab. What I really like about it is its bold and spicy flavor, without being sweet (and usually no sugar is added).
Eaten along with sticky rice, and an assortment of other Thai Isan dishes, green papaya salad is a fresh and vegetable packed Thai dish.