Thai Papaya Salad on a white plate with cabbage and cucumbers garnished.

Som Tum- Thai Papaya Salad

Som Tum is a popular Thai salad that's made with crisp green papaya, tomatoes, lime juice, fish sauce, and pounded together in a large mortar and pestle.

Servings 4 servings
Author Renee Fuentes


  • 1 Green Papaya Once shredded it's about 4 cups packed.
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1-4 Thai Bird's Eye Chili's Depending on spice level
  • 2 Limes squeezed have more on hand
  • 2-3 tsp Thai Fish Sauce have more on hand
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Sugar Can sub regular sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Dried Shrimp See notes on where to find
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes thinly sliced
  • 5 Fresh Green beans cut into 2 in pieces
  • 1/4 cup Peanuts
  • Sliced Cucumbers, Lettuce or Cabbage leaves for serving


  1. Peel the papaya and cut in half length wise and scoop out the seeds. Do a quick soak in ice water to ensure the papaya is cold. Shred the papaya with a mandolin or peeler. You want to end up with fine julienne shreds.

  2. Pound garlic cloves and Thai chili peppers in the mortar until a paste is formed.
  3. Add lime juice, fish sauce, coconut sugar, dried shrimp, tomatoes, green beans, and papaya to the mortar.
  4. Begin pounding until papaya is evenly coated with sauce and tomatoes have been slightly smashed. If using peanuts, you can add them last.

Non Mortar way:

  1. Use a food processor or finely chop the garlic and chili peppers. Then in a small bowl mix the fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar with the garlic chili paste. Pour the sauce over the shredded papaya, tomatoes, green beans, dried shrimp, peanuts, and toss to coat everything.

Recipe Notes

Dried shrimp can be found at Asian markets. It is usually packaged in the refrigerated section. If you can't find dried shrimp, then you can boil some regular shrimp and place those on top for garnish.