Green papaya salad, also known as Som Tam, is a staple of Thailand. Indeed, it is such an important basic of Thai cuisine that even in Seattle green papaya is readily available in the Asian supermarket. During the blockade of the Bangkok airport in December, a Thai newspaper columnist – only half-jokingly – stated that the worst part was that expatriate Thais were cut off from their supply of fresh green papaya.
Som Tam is traditionally prepared in a big mortar; ingredients are added one after another and pounded, releasing all the juicy goodness and softening up the julienned papaya. Having tasted Som Tam, we were keen to prepare it ourselves and recently acquired our very own Som Tam mortar. Compare it to the original in the pictures below – it’s the real deal.