What is spicy, sweet, sour and a little fishy all at the same time? The famous thai green papaya salad known as som tum.
Originally from Isaan, the Northeast of Thailand, som tam can be found at nearly any type of thai restaurant, although you will be certain to find it at an actual Isaan establishment.
Som tam is made of shredded green papaya, a few veggies like onion and tomatoes, garlic, lime juice, palm sugar, a little fish sauce, roasted peanuts and of course, chilies! This is the basic version known as som tum thai but you can also find the same salad with yummy toppings like fried chicken. Thais normally eat som tum with ‘khao neow’ (sticky rice) and some raw fresh veggies.
Being such a famous dish, its very easy to find in Kantiang Bay, here are three of our favourites!
Bayview Restaurant at Baan Laanta Resort and Spa
Baan Laanta Resort and Spa’s Bayview Restaurant serves a delicious traditional sum tum topped with crispy and juicy chunks of fried chicken – ‘som tum gai tod.’ This super fresh salad comes with plenty of raw veggies on the side to cool your palette from the chilies. As the resort normally caters to westerners, the spice level is normally tame; however, compared to the rest of their food, the som tum can make your eyes water. If you’re not into spice, be sure to ask for ‘mai pet’
Som Tum Restaurant
The name says it all. Up the road, just past 7-11 you’ll find a tiny roadside Isaan eatery known as Som Tum. They serve an array of eastern Thai dishes and you’ll normally see a good mix of Thais and westerners eating. If you’ve never tried som tum before, this is the place to try it. You can watch Mrs. Som Tum mix all the ingredients in her mortar and pestle and eat in a very authentic Thai way. The price is also very good. As of 2014, its 40THB for a plate of som tum and 10THB for a portion of sticky rice.
Ba Kantiang is known among Thais and local foreigners to have some of the best Thai food in all of Kantiang Bay and maybe all of Ko Lanta. As such, we highly recommend the som tum. You can order the traditional som tum thai but they also have a few variations like som tum googn (shrimp). This is served like traditional som tum but with yummy steamed shrimp.