Som Tum, also known as green papaya salad, is a popular and refreshing dish from Thai cuisine. It is a vibrant and zesty salad made with shredded unripe or green papaya as the main ingredient. The papaya is combined with a variety of other fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, green beans, carrots, and peanuts, creating a medley of flavors and textures. The salad is typically dressed with a tangy and spicy dressing made from lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, chili, and palm sugar. Som Tum offers a perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors, making it a delightful culinary experience. It is often enjoyed as a side dish or as a light and healthy main course.

Here are some interesting facts about Som Tum:

  1. Origin: Som Tum originated in Thailand and is considered a traditional Thai dish. It is particularly popular in the northeastern region of Thailand, known as Isan, where it is a staple in the local cuisine.
  2. Regional Variations: While green papaya is the most common base for Som Tum, there are regional variations that use different ingredients. For example, in southern Thailand, they use green mango instead of papaya. Other variations may include the addition of salted crab, fermented fish sauce, or dried shrimp for extra flavor.
  3. Texture and Flavors: Som Tum offers a delightful combination of textures and flavors. The shredded papaya provides a crisp and crunchy texture, while the dressing adds a burst of tanginess, spiciness, and slight sweetness. The addition of other ingredients like tomatoes, green beans, and peanuts further enhances the texture and taste profile.
  4. Health Benefits: Som Tum is a nutritious dish. It is low in calories, rich in fiber, and packed with vitamins and minerals from the fresh vegetables used. The papaya itself is a good source of vitamins A, C, and E. Additionally, the dressing, which typically includes lime juice, chili, and garlic, may have immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.
  5. Thai Street Food: Som Tum is commonly found as a popular street food in Thailand. It is often prepared to order, allowing you to customize the level of spiciness and other flavors to your preference.
  6. Varieties: Apart from the traditional green papaya version, there are other variations of Som Tum that cater to different dietary preferences. Some versions include tofu or grilled chicken for added protein, while others offer vegetarian or vegan options by omitting fish sauce and shrimp.
  7. Cultural Significance: This salad holds cultural significance in Thailand and is often associated with gatherings and social events. It is frequently enjoyed with other traditional Thai dishes, such as grilled meats, sticky rice, and soups.
  8. Global Popularity: This salad has gained popularity worldwide and can be found in Thai restaurants around the globe. Its refreshing flavors, colorful presentation, and healthy ingredients have made it a favorite among those seeking a flavorful and healthy salad option.
    • These interesting facts highlight the cultural significance, flavor profiles, and versatility of Som Tum, making it a beloved dish that continues to captivate food enthusiasts worldwide.

Here are a few health benefits of Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad):

  1. Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Som Tum is made with fresh vegetables like green papaya and cherry tomatoes, which are rich in vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins act as antioxidants, supporting immune function and protecting the body against cellular damage.
  2. High in Fibre: Green papaya and other vegetables used in this salad are excellent sources of dietary fibre. Fiber plays a crucial role in supporting healthy digestion, facilitating regular bowel movements, and promoting the well-being of the gut.
  3. Antioxidant Power: The fresh ingredients in Som Tum, such as green papaya, tomatoes, and chilies, contain antioxidants that help combat oxidative stress and reduce inflammation in the body. Antioxidants actively contribute to diminishing the risk of chronic diseases and bolstering overall health and well-being.
  4. Hydration and Detoxification: Som Tum has high water content from the vegetables and lime juice, contributing to hydration. Additionally, the ingredients in Som Tum, particularly green papaya, have natural detoxifying properties, assisting in the elimination of toxins from the body.
  5. Low in Calories: Som Tum is a low-calorie dish, making it a healthy choice for weight management. It is nutrient-dense, providing a variety of vitamins and minerals without adding excessive calories.
  6. Heart-Healthy: Som Tum is typically made with fish sauce, which contains omega-3 fatty acids known for their cardiovascular benefits. These healthy fats can help lower inflammation and promote heart health.
  7. Potential Digestive Benefits: Some of the ingredients in Som Tum, such as green papaya and lime juice, contain enzymes that may aid in digestion and support gut health.
  8. Fresh and Natural Ingredients: This salad is made with fresh, unprocessed ingredients, offering a wholesome and natural option for a nutritious meal. It avoids artificial additives, preservatives, and unhealthy fats commonly found in processed foods.
    • By enjoying Som Tum as part of a balanced diet, you can reap these health benefits, including an abundance of vitamins and minerals, fiber for digestion, antioxidants for cellular health, and potential support for heart health and hydration. Embrace the refreshing flavors of Som Tum and indulge in its health-promoting qualities.

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This simple and unique Som Tum recipe offers a delicious and refreshing green papaya salad experience. The combination of shredded green papaya, cherry tomatoes, and long beans creates a crunchy and vibrant base, while the dressing of garlic, chilies, fish sauce (or soy sauce), lime juice, and palm sugar adds a perfect balance of tanginess,spiciness, and sweetness.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Breakfast, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4
Calories 100 kcal


  • 2 cup shredded green papaya
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup long beans or green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 Thai bird's eye chilies, finely chopped (adjust according to spice preference)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (or soy sauce for a vegetarian/vegan version)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp Palm sugar, alternatively referred to as brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts, crushed
  • Optional toppings: dried shrimp, dried crab, or fried shallots


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded green papaya, cherry tomatoes, and long beans.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the minced garlic, chopped chilies, fish sauce (or soy sauce), lime juice, and palm sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • Pour the dressing over the papaya mixture and toss well to ensure all the ingredients are coated.
  • Sample the dish and modify the seasoning as desired to suit your personal taste. Add more lime juice, fish sauce, or palm sugar if desired.
  • Sprinkle the crushed roasted peanuts over the salad and gently toss to incorporate.
  • If using, add optional toppings such as dried shrimp, dried crab, or fried shallots for added flavor and texture
  • Let the salad sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Serve the Som Tum chilled as a refreshing side dish or a light main course.


Enjoy the unique flavors and vibrant freshness of this simple Som Tum recipe! Feel free to customize it by adding other ingredients like shredded carrot, green mango, or additional herbs to suit your taste preferences.


This simple and unique Som Tum recipe offers a delicious and refreshing green papaya salad experience. The combination of shredded green papaya, cherry tomatoes, and long beans creates a crunchy and vibrant base, while the dressing of garlic, chilies, fish sauce (or soy sauce), lime juice, and palm sugar adds a perfect balance of tanginess, spiciness, and sweetness. Topped with crushed roasted peanuts and optional toppings like dried shrimp or fried shallots, this salad becomes a medley of flavors and textures. Som Tum is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a side dish or a light main course, showcasing the delightful flavors and healthy ingredients of Thai cuisine.

  • Where does som tum originate from?

Ans: Som Tum, also known as green papaya salad, originates from Thailand. It is a traditional dish that is particularly popular in the northeastern region of Thailand, known as Isan. However, Som Tum is enjoyed throughout the country and has gained popularity worldwide due to its vibrant flavors and refreshing nature.

  • Why is som tam famous?

Ans: Som Tam, or green papaya salad, is famous for several reasons:

  1. Bold and Vibrant Flavors: Som Tam offers a unique combination of flavors, including sweet, sour, spicy, and savory. The tanginess of lime juice, the spiciness of chili, and the sweetness of palm sugar create a tantalizing taste experience that has gained popularity among food enthusiasts.
  2. Refreshing and Light: Som Tam is a refreshing and light dish, making it perfect for hot climates. The crispness of shredded green papaya, along with the zesty dressing and fresh vegetables, provides a cooling sensation and satisfies the palate.
  3. Cultural Significance: Som Tam holds cultural significance in Thai cuisine and is an integral part of Thai culinary heritage. It is often associated with gatherings, celebrations, and street food culture, making it a symbol of Thai food culture and a must-try dish for visitors to Thailand.
  4. Versatility and Customization: Som Tam can be customized to suit individual tastes and preferences. With variations in spice levels, the addition of ingredients like dried shrimp or crab, and the ability to adjust the dressing, Som Tam offers a versatile culinary canvas for personalization.
  5. Nutritious and Healthy: Som Tam is made with fresh and nutritious ingredients, including green papaya, vegetables, herbs, and lime juice. It is low in calories, rich in vitamins and minerals, and offers the health benefits of fiber, antioxidants, and hydration.
  • How many calories does som tam salad have?

Ans: The calorie content of Som Tam (green papaya salad) can vary depending on the specific recipe and portion size. As a general estimate, a serving of Som Tam typically ranges from 100 to 200 calories. This estimate includes the shredded green papaya, vegetables, dressing, and optional toppings like peanuts or dried shrimp. Keep in mind that the calorie content may vary based on the specific ingredients and quantities used in the preparation. Som Tam is known for its light and refreshing nature, making it a popular choice for those looking for a low-calorie, nutrient-rich salad option.

  • How long does som tum last in the fridge?

Ans: Som Tum (green papaya salad) can typically last in the refrigerator for about 2 to 3 days. However, it’s important to note that the texture and freshness of the salad may start to decline after the first day. The ingredients in Som Tum, such as green papaya and other vegetables, tend to release moisture over time, which can affect the overall texture. It’s best to consume Som Tum within the first day or two to enjoy it at its freshest. Additionally, ensure that the salad is stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator to maintain its flavors and prevent it from absorbing other odors.

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