top of page
  • Writer's pictureOdara

Tam mak houng - Green papaya salad

Updated: Mar 20, 2021

Green papaya salad, tam mak houng, is a traditional Lao dish but commonly known to foreigners by its Thai name, som tam. This dish was popularized in Thailand by the people of Lao ethnic origin, the Isans, living in the northeast of the country.

Tam mak houng is served with pork rind chips (khiep mou), water morning glory and galadium. In Vientiane, it is common to see it accompanied by a plate of rice vermicelli (khao poun).

For 4 people

Basic ingredients

400 g green papaya, grated

1 clove of garlic

3 chili peppers

3 tablespoons of sugar

3 tablespoons of lemon juice

3 tablespoons of fish sauce

½ teaspoon of shrimp paste (kapi)

1 large tomato, cut into 8

Alternative or complementary ingredients

Salty taste: unfiltered fish sauce (pa dek), crab sauce (nam pou)

Acid taste: tamarind paste, cooked sour plum (mak kok)

Additional vegetables: sliced ​​round eggplants, chopped asparagus beans, grated carrots

Others: peanuts, dried shrimps


In a large mortar, crush the garlic and chili peppers.

Add sugar, lemon juice and fish sauce. Dilute the shrimp paste in the mixture.

Add the green papaya and mash while mixing with a spoon.

Once the papaya is well covered with the sauce, add the tomatoes and mash again to mix well.

More pictures here for the method and a funky teaser.

“Green papaya is sometimes replaced by grated cucumber (tam mak teng) or asparagus beans (tam mak thoua). I don't put tomatoes in the tam mak teng and I add crushed ginger in the tam mak thoua.”

How to grate a green papaya

Peel the papaya.

The traditional method consists of making notches in the papaya with a large knife and then cutting thin slices either with the large knife or with a peeler.

The second method is to use a papaya grater. You can find it in Asian food stores.

Luang-Prabang style green papaya salad is made with large stripes.”

Recent Posts

See All


Help me keep this blog ad-free forever

bottom of page