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How to make Thum Mak Hoong

How to make Thum Mak Hoong

When it comes to vibrant and flavorful dishes, few can compare to the exquisite delight of Papaya Salad, also known as “Som Tum” or “Thum Mak Hoong.” Originating from the culinary haven of Southeast Asia, this dish has captured the hearts and palates of people worldwide. In this blog post, we will embark on a journey to uncover the origins of Papaya Salad, delve into its intriguing flavors, and explore its global popularity.

Origins and Evolution: Tracing the Roots of Papaya Salad

Papaya Salad finds its roots in the lush landscapes of Thailand and Laos, where it’s considered a staple street food. This dish perfectly reflects the region’s culinary philosophy of combining sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors in a harmonious balance. The earliest versions of Papaya Salad consisted of basic ingredients like green papaya, lime juice, fish sauce, chilies, and peanuts.

Over time, Papaya Salad has evolved into a diverse range of regional variations, each with its own twist on the classic recipe. The Thai version, known as “Som Tum Thai,” typically includes peanuts, cherry tomatoes, snake beans, dried shrimp, and sometimes even crab or fermented fish sauce. On the other hand, the Laotian “Thum Mak Hoong” might incorporate fermented fish paste, padaek, and additional local herbs.

Key Ingredients and Their Significance

  1. Green Papaya: The heart of Papaya Salad, green papaya is chosen for its firmness and mild flavor. It provides a refreshing and crunchy texture that balances the spiciness and tanginess of the dish.
  2. Chilies: Whether fresh or dried, chilies infuse Papaya Salad with the signature spicy kick that wakes up the taste buds and adds depth to the flavor profile.
  3. Lime Juice: The zing of fresh lime juice not only contributes to the dish’s tanginess but also serves as a natural tenderizer for the papaya.
  4. Fish Sauce: A cornerstone of Southeast Asian cuisine, fish sauce adds saltiness and umami to the dish, creating a harmonious balance with the other flavors.
  5. Peanuts: Roasted peanuts offer a satisfying crunch and nuttiness that complements the other textures in the salad.
  6. Herbs and Vegetables: Varieties such as cherry tomatoes, snake beans, and garlic chives contribute colors, flavors, and nutritional value, enhancing the overall experience.

Papaya Salad

Papaya Salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 green papaya, peeled and julienned
  • 2-3 Thai bird's eye chilies, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup snake beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts, coarsely crushed
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


  1. In a mortar and pestle, pound the chilies and garlic together to create a fragrant paste.
  2. Add palm sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice to the paste. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Toss in the cherry tomatoes and snake beans, lightly bruising them to release their flavors.
  4. Add the julienned green papaya and gently pound with a pestle to combine the flavors and soften the papaya.
  5. Incorporate half of the roasted peanuts and give it a final mix.
  6. Taste and adjust the flavors according to your preference, balancing the sweet, sour, salty, and spicy elements.
  7. Transfer the salad to a serving dish, garnish with the remaining peanuts and fresh coriander leaves.
  8. Serve the Papaya Salad immediately, savoring its vibrant flavors and delightful textures.

Papaya Salad

Prep Time 32 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 210 kcal


  • 1 Papaya


  • Get Mixing Bowl
  • Get Cok and Sok


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Global Popularity and Culinary Impact

Papaya Salad’s journey from the streets of Southeast Asia to global recognition is a testament to its irresistible flavors. With its harmonious blend of tastes and textures, it has become a sought-after dish in various countries. Restaurants around the world now include it on their menus, and adventurous food enthusiasts are experimenting with their own variations at home.

In addition to its delectable taste, Papaya Salad’s health benefits are also noteworthy. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, it’s a refreshing and nutritious option for those seeking a wholesome meal.

10 Amazing Laos Food Dishes You Must Try In 2022 | Lemongrass Fresh

Saturday 12th of August 2023

[…] Papaya salad is a traditional and one of the most amazing Laos food dishes in the culture 🥵 🥵 🥵 . It is made from diced/shredded pieces of papaya, tomato, green beans, chili peppers 🌶️ 🌶️ 🌶️ , and lime juice. It’s usually served with sticky rice and mak phet (a type of fish sauce). […]

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