Green Papaya Salad

If you are in Cambodia, this tasty dish is called Bok Lahong (pounded papaya in Khmer); if you are in Vietnam, it is called Goi Du Du (pronounced “guy dodo”); and it is a common dish in Thailand, where it is known as Som Tam. However you say it, its delicate combination of contrasting flavors makes it light, refreshing and delicious. If you follow the recipe directions exactly the dish will be fairly spicy, but you can adjust the intensity to taste. You may need to visit an Asian market or a supermarket with an Asian food aisle to get some of the ingredients; if necessary, you may make substitutions: jalapeño chili for Thai chili, brown sugar for palm sugar, soy or Worcestershire sauce for fish sauce, crab paste and/or shrimp paste. However, using the ingredients shown will yield a more authentic dish.



  • 4 Thai chili peppers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 tsp crab paste
  • 3 T salted crab
  • 1 1/2 T Thai fish sauce
  • Juice of 1 fresh lime
  • 1/4 C tamarind concentrate
  • 3 T palm sugar, stirred into 1/3 C of water
  • 1 1/2 C cherry tomatoes, cut in half


  • 2 C green papaya, finely cut strips
  • 1 C unripe mango, thinly cut strips
  • 2 T crushed peanuts
  • 1/2 C carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 C apple, thinly cut strips
  • 1 C cucumber, shredded



In a mortar, crush chili peppers. Add garlic, shrimp and crab paste, salted crab, fish sauce, lime juice, tamarind and sugar water. Mix well. Add tomatoes and lightly muddle into mix.


Place papaya, mango, carrot, apple and cucumber in a bowl. Add peanuts and dressing and gently toss the salad. Serve chilled.

Serving Suggestion

Traditionally accompanied with sticky rice and/or grilled chicken.

  • Makes 6 servings.