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lao papaya salad in a plate with fresh veggies garnish by window

Lao green papaya salad recipe (Tam Mak Hoong)

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5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Suwanee
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Diet: Low Fat


Lao Green papaya salad recipe (Tam Mak Hoong) is a flavorful, mouthwatering salad made from shredded green papaya, tomatoes, beans, and carrots. This crunchy salad is lightly pounded with garlic, Thai chilies, tomatoes, and green beans, then seasoned with pungent fermented sauces making this recipe one of the raved-about salads in Southeast Asia.


  • 2 cups shredded green papaya salad.
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1-5 fresh Thai chilis, as needed
  • 2/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 tablespoon Pla Ra, fermented fish sauce is not the same as fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crab paste
  • Pickled whole crab. 1 tablespoon of liquid and 1/4 cup of the crab leg pieces.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice. Add one slice of squeezed lime rind to release oil and a slightly bitter taste.
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
  • 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce.
  • 2-3 tablespoon sugar. Add more towards the end of the salad is too spicy.


  1. Prepare the green papaya. Wash, dry with paper towels, and carefully peel the skin off the papaya with a sharp knife. Peeling only the green part, you will see raw papaya's beautiful white flesh. Wash the sap off with water and towel dry.
  2. Shred the papaya. Use the knife method mentioned above to shred the papaya into thick log slices 4-6 inches long with a Kiwi peeler or grater. Keep shredding until you have about two solid cups. Make an ice bath for the shredded papaya to keep them fresh and crispy.
  3.  Roughly pound garlic and Thai chilies in a large mortar and pestle with a wooden pestle. Don’t make a paste.
  4. Add the green beans and roughly pound them with the wooden pestle, just enough to bruise them. This is where you can add one or two Thai eggplants.
  5. Add the sliced tomatoes, pound just enough to bruise, and extract the juice.
  6. Add shrimp paste, crab paste, fermented fish sauce (Pa Daek), pickled crab, fish sauce, and lime juice with rind, tamarind, and sugar. Leave the rind of the lime, but don’t eat it when served. Either remove it before serving or set it on the side of a plate as the locals would. Half mixing, half light pouring of everything together. Use a large spoon to help swirl the sauce around in a circular motion with one hand while using the wooden pestle on the other.
  7. Add the shredded papaya and carrot and the rest of the lime juice. Lightly pound everything all together one last time. 1 Minute more. Taste your salad and adjust here with more fish sauce, lime juice, or sugar.
  8. Prepare a platter with vegetables and garnishing options on the side. Pour the salad from the mortar into the serving platter, and that's it! Enjoy the taste of heaven on earth! And again tomorrow. (;


  • Soaking the shredded papaya, green beans, and carrots in an ice bath will help crisp the vegetables, adding a fresh crispy texture to the salad.
  • Add a small amount at a time of the seasoning ingredients to ensure the flavors aren’t too intense. You can adjust more toward the end.
  • If you find the measurements too strong, you can add up to 1/4 cup of water to the sauce to help dilute some of the saltiness.
  • Have sticky rice, jasmine rice, and vermicelli noodles ready to serve with the salad.
  • Lettuce, napa cabbage, or sliced cabbage to eat the salads as a wrap.
  • Use a large spoon alongside the wooden pestle to help stir, flip, and circulate the salad in the mortar for an even pouring and blending of the sauce into the ingredients.

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  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: salad
  • Method: salad
  • Cuisine: thai