Som Tum – A popular spicy salad that you should try in the best Thai restaurant in London

Som Tum, also known as Green Papaya Salad, is a signature Thai salad dish served in Thai Square, not only one of the best restaurants in Covent Garden but also the best Thai restaurant in London. This simple, spicy, and delicious salad is one of the most popular dishes that people love enjoying during their time at Thai Square.

What is Som Tum?

Som Tum is a spicy salad made from unripe, shredded papaya, which is first originated in Laos. At first, the local people in Laos used local green mangoes or cucumbers as the chief ingredient of this sour salad. Later, this salad dish has gained popularity throughout Southeast Asia and started replacing mangoes with papayas as the main ingredient in Thailand. This Green Papaya Salad now becomes a well-loved Thai dishes in most of the Thai restaurants around the world. There are several names associated with this salad, depending on the country where it is served. While it is known as Som Tum in Thailand, this dish is called bok ‘lhong in Cambodia, Tam Som in Laos and gỏi đu đủ in Vietnam.

Regardless of the variations in the name, this green papaya salad has quickly become a favourite and is often listed as one of the most delicious foods in the world. It was ranked number 46 on the most delicious foods in the world by CNN Go a few years earlier. This is because of the unique combination of ingredients used in making this scrumptious dish.

Ingredients of Som Tum & How it tastes

Besides the main ingredient papaya, there are five common ingredients used in creating this salad.

Sour Lime

Hot Chili

Savoury Fish Sauce

Palm Sugar


All the ingredients are mixed together and pounded using a mortar and pestle.

While the papaya may make you believe the taste of Som Tum will be sweet, it is actually a savoury dish, thanks to the tangy flavour of the unripe papaya used. The texture is crisp and almost crunchy despite being pounded in the mortar. Although Som Tum is traditionally served with bird’s eye chili, it becomes a common practice of reducing the amount of chili added to adjust the level of spiciness for the diners who are not used to hot dishes.

Additional Ingredients

In some restaurants, the chef will add other ingredients to enrich the flavours of the salad dish. Here is a list of the more popular ingredients which offer additional spices and flavours to the dish.

  • Brined Crabs
  • Dried Shrimp & Shrimp Paste
  • Garlic
  • Hot Plums
  • Fish Sauce
  • Lime
  • Pla Ra
  • Thai Eggplant (raw)
  • Tomatoes
  • Yardlong Beans

At Thai Square Restaurants, our Som Tum is a light and healthy salad made with green papaya, chilies, tomatoes, long beans, lime juice, and nuts. The flavours in this salad have quickly made it a popular Thai dish well-loved by our diners.

If you have not tried Som Tum before, you should visit and enjoy our Green Papaya Salad at Thai Square, the best restaurants in London. Remember to book your table and check out our latest restaurants deals in London.

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