Papaya Salad


Papaya salad is a staple amongst most Cambodian homes. There are many different ways to make it…it all boils down to taste and preference. Thai style has just the basics like fish sauce, lime, sugar, and chili peppers. Some people like to add peanuts, basil, or even use Chinese long beans. ¬†Cambodian and Laos people like to add prahok or padek which is a fermented fish sauce that is used as the base of the salad. I have many different variations of prahok sauce that I make, where I combine many different types of fermented pastes. So feel free to experiment and use whatever you have in your pantry. The sauce can vary from dark in color to lighter depending on what brand I use, or how much water I add. Some people don’t even cook their sauces before they make the salad and just add it straight into the papaya right away. My most favorite way to make it, is actually with pickled baby crab. Haha. You are either, one: completely grossed out by what I just mentioned or two: salivating at the thought of tiny crab legs poking out of the spicy and sour goodness. Lol. I can’t get that locally but if you can find it, it’s also a good addition to your papaya salad. Either way, this recipe is a great recipe for beginners…make sure to taste check and adjust seasoning as needed.



10 ounces of shredded GREEN papaya(you may add in some carrots sliced julienne)

some cherry tomatos, halved

2 garlic cloves, peeled

Thai chili peppers

1 lime

1 1/2 tsp of sugar

1 Tbsp of Prahok sauce(recipe below)

1 1/2 Tbsp of good fish sauce


For the Prahok sauce:

1 Tbsp of shrimp paste

1/3 cup of fermented fish paste(mud fish/prahok)

1/4 cup of fermented fish paste(mud fish/prahok) boneless

1 cup of water

1/2 tsp of MSG(optional)


Mmm…my papaya salad served with baked chicken wings, which is one of the most common pairings in Cambodian culture.


Here is the link to my baked chicken wings recipe.

Combine in a saucepan, ingredients for the prahok sauce. Mix well. On medium heat, cook the prahok sauce, making sure to keep it a rolling boil for about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Set aside and allow to cool completely before using.

In a mortar and pestle, add in 2 garlic cloves along with some chili peppers. Just one or two if you do not like it spicy. Pound it well until almost like a paste. Add in your shredded papaya, prahok sauce, sugar, fish sauce, and half of a lime(including it’s pulp). Pound again and use a spoon while your smashing it to help you incorporate all of your ingredients together. Taste check. Adjust seasonings as needed. Remove onto serving dish. Repeat process.

Serve immediately. If you have any leftover prahok sauce, make sure to put it in an airtight container. Keep in your refrigerator for up to one month. Papaya salad is also delicious with a side of green cabbage or water spinach(trokuon). Don’t forget to check out my recipe for Asian baked bbq chicken(recipe can be found here)
which is my favorite thing to eat with papaya salad.

Here’s the link to my kick-ass, julienne peeler:¬†Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler (Google Affiliate Ad)

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My name is Sav Le and I created Eat Now, Cry Later to show you how fun and easy cooking can be! I'm currently redesigning my blog, so please be patient with me while I get things up and running! You can find more recipes at my other blog:

12 Responses to “Papaya Salad”

  1. August 10, 2015 at 3:56 AM #

    Papaya salad tastes even better when you put peanuts in it. And also long bean, cabbage and also pickled crab. Just mention all of these ingredient got me drooling.

    • August 12, 2015 at 10:47 AM #

      I agree with all of the above…except I don’t like peanuts in my papaya salad. But YES to pickled crab–YUM!

  2. Kha lor
    June 29, 2015 at 4:04 PM #

    Hi Sav!! I just found your site and already loving it! Thanks for sharing your recipes with us. I am greatly appreciative. I make my papaya sauce differently by using Laotian style but would love to try your sauce. Do you mind posting pictures of the sauces so I can find them at the Asian stores? thank you in advance!!

    • July 11, 2015 at 11:15 AM #

      Hi! So happy you that you are enjoying the site! I do not have any pictures to post at the moment, but will hopefully get to the store soon. And FYI, I LOVE Laotian style papaya salad! :)

  3. Somaly
    November 20, 2014 at 11:23 AM #

    Hi Sav,
    I was wondering if you can tell me what brand of peeler you are using. I’m looking for a good peeler that’ll last.

  4. November 5, 2014 at 8:11 PM #

    Looks really yummy.
    I like to eat papaya salad, I like Thai Food.

  5. Sophea
    July 27, 2014 at 4:53 PM #


    I love your vids and recipes. The very closest thing I could remember of my mother’s food. I remember some folks only put water (boiled or cold?) and salt in an air-tight container. And then, stored them in a dark place for a month. I could be wrong. Perhaps you could try it. Lol.

    • August 3, 2014 at 8:40 PM #

      Hi Sophea,

      I’ve never done that before. Although, I know some Laos people who store their padek aka prahok in an airtight container, and store it in the cupboard. Maybe you could try it and then let me know…Lol.

  6. Nancy
    June 12, 2014 at 4:54 PM #

    This looks awesome. I noticed that you also have the crab there. Can you usually find that in a Cambodian store or is that something someone usually makes on their own?

    I can’t wait to try out this recipe. The nearest Cambodian or Laos place with good papaya salad is an hour away! </3

    • June 15, 2014 at 10:17 PM #

      Hi Nancy,

      I found my pickled crab in the freezer section at my local Asian market. You can ask around and see where you can find one in your area. I do not know how to pickle my own baby crab but I’m sure that it can be done. Lol.

      Good luck with the recipe!

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