Som Tam 5 questions to Onno
-What's Som Tam? -What's Som Tam?
"Som Tam is a Thai papaya salad with green papaya as a base and with tomatoes, long beans, peanuts and a spicy dressing. Sometimes you get it with dried shrimp. The Thai love it."
-When do Thai Som Tam eat?
"All day. It can be anytime, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or whenever someone feels like it. And that's quite often. Without Som Tam, a meal isn't complete. In rural Thailand, it's made quickly. They pull a papaya from the tree, add some vegetables and taste it. Simple."
"Som Tam is in the Top 5 of national dishes. Thai who go abroad always complain that they can't find it anywhere. So it really belongs to the Thai kitchen. That is why many Thai think it is a Thai dish, but it comes from Laos. It has slowly spread over the country via the Isaan, the northeastern part of Thailand that borders Laos".
-Why a Som Tam dressing for Europe? -Why?
"We're looking more and more at what the tasty dishes in other countries are. Many Europeans who have been on holiday in Thailand want to eat this salad at home. That's why we made a vegetarian Som Tam dressing, ready-made with chili, garlic, sugar and soy sauce. You can add salt or fish sauce yourself, if you want."
"It's a distinct taste. Quite spicy and really something for the lover, without weakening the Thai taste. We also have sweet and not spicy dressings in our assortment, so there is something to choose from. Whichever dressing you choose, you know you'll always get a real Thai dish".
-Can you buy all the other ingredients for Som Tam in Europe?
"You can't get green papaya in some countries, that's a bit of a problem. Some specialized stores have it, although it's relatively expensive because it's imported fresh".
-What are the alternatives?
“You can choose the fruit variety, which is also very popular in Thailand. They then make the salad with apple, pineapple and carrot. So it remains a real Thai dish, even if you choose this. But you can also use other sturdy vegetables in addition to carrots: cucumber, celery or bell pepper, for example. In any case, you have quickly made a Som Tam salad, especially with this new vegetarian dressing. ”