Thum Mak Hoong
(Papaya Salad)

30 minutes
to prep

5 minutes
to cook

3 servings

About this Recipe

One of the most popular dishes of Laos, papaya salad (also known in Laos as “thum muk hoong”) is known for its elegant combination of salty flavors, chiles, lime juice, and fresh unripe papaya.

Recipe by: Tina Phoumalvahn
Photos by: Kylie Hope


  • 1 small papaya, peeled and shredded
  • 2 large whole carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 3 Thai eggplants with stems cut off and quartered
  • 15 halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 Thai chili peppers (or more if you like it spicy)
  • ½ teaspoon MSG (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 3–4 tablespoons vegan fish sauce
  • Crushed peanuts (optional)
Papaya Salad

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Add garlic, Thai chili peppers, coconut sugar, and MSG (optional) to a large mortar and smash until it’s a fine paste.
  2. Add tomatoes and smash carefully to release juices. Be careful to not get it in your eyes. Once all the tomatoes are smashed, add papaya, carrots, and cabbage. Pound with a pestle and mix everything together with a spoon.
  3. Add juices from limes and vegan fish sauce. Keep on pounding and mixing for a minute.
  4. Add eggplants and crushed peanuts. Mix together one more time and taste to modify the salad to your liking.