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Laotian Spicy Green Papaya Salad (Tum Mark Hoong)

A staple salad in Laos that hits all the notes that Southeast Asian cuisine is famous for. 
Course Salad
Cuisine Laotian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 53kcal
Author International Cuisine


  • 1 green papaya
  • 1 to 10 Thai chilies depending on your heat tolerance
  • 12 cherry or grape tomatoes halved
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons fermented fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons shrimp paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt start with one and add second if needed to taste


  • Wash and peel the green papaya, cut in half and remove the seeds, Shred it using a shredding tool or julienne it with a knife, being very careful.
  • Peel the garlic cloves, wash the chilies remove tops, slice the lime into wedges and halve the tomatoes.
  • With a large mortar and pestle start pounding the garlic, chilies, salt, sugar and shrimp paste together.
  • Add a handful of the papaya and then the halved cherry tomatoes into the mortar, and gently pound them into the mixture. Use a spoon to fold over the mixture and continue to pound them together. Don't pound the cherry tomatoes too much you want to remain in tact.
  • Add the remaining shredded papaya, fish sauce and squeeze the lime juice. Continue to pound and mix everything together turning often.
  • Taste the salad and add whatever you feel in necessary to get that balance of spicy, salty, sour, sweet and umami flavors.
  • Transfer to a bowl and serve.
  • It is fine to make ahead and refrigerate to let the flavors meld together, it actually gets a little better with time.


Calories: 53kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 3g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 1966mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 595IU | Vitamin C: 39.5mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 0.8mg