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Som Tam (Papaya Salad)

Somtam Thai
Som Tam (papaya salad), is a dish that has come to be known and loved by people all over the world. Although most Westerners who didn't get further than their local Thai restaurant in their countries, or the Bungalow/Resort restaurant where they stayed whilst in Thailand will perhaps not have seen any of the myriad variations of Som Tam that are to be found in existence. Most tourism orientated establishments only serve Som Tam Thai, which is a sweet tasting concoction using green papaya, carrot, chili, tomato and peanuts with some cane syrup, dried shrimps, fish sauce, msg, lime juice, green beans and schallots. This is the easiest and most universal type of som tam available, as well as the most palatable to general tatses. But for the more adventurous, and most definitely Thai people, there are many other versions which are mostly preferred by the locals in Thailand. The number one preference must be i thing Som Tam Phu Kem Pla Ra (either both Phu Kem and Pla Ra, or sometimes just Phu Kem for those who cannot manage the pungent taste of Pla Ra). Phu kem means salted preserved freshwater crab, and Pla Ra is a kind of salted fermented raw fish, which is placed in salt water in a pot called a "Hai" for a period of up to 2 years to ferment.
Somtam With PhuKem
 
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