I heart som tum!

by Forager on January 11, 2009

I ventured out west today and dropped by my favourite place to get som tum otherwise known as Thai green papaya salad. Som tum has got to be my favourite Thai dish. There are variations on the recipe but it usually contains a delicious combination of pounded green papaya, tomato, snake beans, garlic, chilli, fish sauce, palm sugar and lime juice. A flavour and texture explosion!

There are plenty of places that serve good som tum – I like Papaya Kitchen in the BKK shopping centre food court in Cabramatta. They make good authentic som tum complete with salted black field crabs (som tum pu, photo on left). It’s not a flashy place, – just what you’d expect from a small suburban food court. And here I must digress – contrary to what some people or the media says about Cabramatta, it’s not a dangerous, drug-riddled place. If you go for weekend brunch, the only riots you’re likely to encounter are with small, determined Asian men, women & children scrapping it out for the next available table in a restaurant or over the juiciest piece of char siu pork. Cabramatta is an Asian food lover’s dream. There are so many snack stalls and restaurants in Cabramatta and is of course the best place to get fresh and authentic Vietnamese food, but it also serves a wide variety of Chinese and southeast Asian cuisines to cater to the mixing pot of Asian cultures that frequent Cabramatta. And because there are so many competing restaurants and foodies in Cabramatta, any place packed with loyal customers has to serve very good food if it wants to keep its doors open! Papaya Kitchen is one of these places – it’s a Cabramatta institution! Their som tum is served spicy, so beware! I once made the mistake of obliging the owner when she suggested that I get it spicy and paid for it through streaming tears, gasps nearing hyperventilation and 4 hours of post som tum indigestion. The one I ordered today was “mild” – and it still set my tongue on fire! A price worth paying for yummy som tum…

There are some other Thai places in Sydney that I frequent specifically for the som tum. For those who don’t live out west, try Saap Thai in “Thainatown”, the Thai restaurant strip near Chinatown. They have the best variety of som tum I’ve seen in Sydney – with 9 variations of this salad on the menu. The variations differ in addition of prawns, crab, mixed seafood and pork. The photo on the right is of som tum bbq pork (more a grilled pork than chinese style char siu bbq pork). Incidentally, they have plenty of other Thai salads on the menu so anyone who loves Thai salads will love this place! And of course, because they’re authentic – the som tum is hot mama spicy.


Papaya Kitchen
Shop 8, BKK Shopping Centre food court. 53 Park Rd, Cabramatta. (02) 9728 3181. Open 7 days.

Saap Thai
378 Pitt St, Sydney. (02) 9267 9604. Open 7 days.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jeabberz January 21, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Hey Trina!!
I just found out you have a food blog, nice!
Anyway, here’s another place where you can try very nice som tum in Sydney… ‘Senior Crocodile Thai’… I know the name is kinda weird but they make really good food. I must say they are one of the places in Sydney that actually made Thai food to taste like Thai food, not adapted for foreigners :) It’s on 768 George St, Haymarket.
If you have time, try it out.

Enjoy food hunting!!


2 Trina January 21, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Fantastic! I’ve heard of Senior Crocodile Thai and I’ve been meaning to try it. And who am I to refuse endorsement from a Thai?

Hope you’re enjoying Singapore! And hey – if you haven’t been there yet, apparently Sin Huat restaurant is not to be missed.

Trina x

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