Salads that are internationally known as Thai salads, with a few
exceptions, fall into four main methods of preparation. In Thai
cuisine these are called yam, tam, lap and phla. A few additional
dishes can also be regarded as being a salad.
3 See also
5 External links
Thai salads often do not have raw vegetables or fruit as their main
ingredient but use minced meat, seafood or noodles instead. Similar to
salads in the West, these dishes often have a souring agent, usually
lime juice, and feature the addition of fresh herbs and other greens
in their preparation.
Thai salads are not served as entrées but
normally eaten as one of the main dishes in a Thai buffet-style meal,
together with rice (depending on the region this can be glutinous rice
or non-glutinous rice) or the Thai rice noodle called khanom chin.
Specialised khao tom kui (plain rice congee) restaurants also serve a
wide variety of
Thai salads of the yam type as side dishes. Many Thai
salads, for instance the famous som tam, are also eaten as a meal or
snack on their own.
Yam khamin khao kung
Yam (ยำ, Thai pronunciation: [jām]) literally means "mix"
Thai cuisine it normally refers to a type of salad-like dishes
in the culinary repertoire of Thailand. Yam can be made with a wide
variety of ingredients as its main ingredient and nearly any type of
protein, vegetable, fruit, herb, spice, and noodle, or combinations
thereof, is possible. The main ingredient can be raw, pickled,
fermented, sun-dried, smoked, steamed, parboiled, boiled, grilled,
baked, stir-fried or deep-fried, or combinations thereof. Besides the
main ingredient, the basic recipe of a yam will nearly always contain
sliced fresh shallots or onions, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and
fresh or dried chillies. When herbs are used, it is usually Chinese
celery, sometimes in combination with other fresh herbs such as
spearmint, coriander leaves, spring onions and culantro. Very
often, sliced tomatoes are also added in, or finely slices fresh
spices such as lemongrass, ginger, galangal, or khamin khao (lit.
Yam pla duk fu, with the green mango dressing in a bowl on the side
Examples of yam style salads are yam nuea yang with sliced grilled
beef, yam khai dao with fried egg, yam tale with mixed seafood, yam mu
yo with a pork sausage resembling liverwurst, or yam wunsen with glass
noodles. Some yam salads can use only herbs, spices and nuts as their
main ingredient, such as yam takhrai met mamuang himaphan with sliced
lemongrass and cashew nuts, or with stir-fried vegetables, such as
water mimosa in yam phak krachet. Depending on the salad, anything
from crispy fried onions, crunchy nuts or seeds, to toasted coconut
flakes can also be added to the mix to enhance the flavours, colours
and textures. Also, in many yam salads where the main ingredient is
not meat, cooked minced pork can be added for extra savouriness, as
often happens in yam wunsen (glass noodle salad). After one look at
the menu of a khao tom kui (plain rice congee) restaurant, it is clear
that nearly any ingredient that one can imagine can be used to make a
yam style salad. To name a few: yam khai khem (salted duck eggs), yam
kung chiang (dry Chinese sweet pork sausage), yam mu krop (Chinese
crispy pork), and yam phak kat dong (Chinese pickled cabbage). These
yam that are eaten with plain rice congee tend to remain more simple
in their preparation, containing only the basic "dressing" of lime
juice, raw onion or shallot, chillies, sugar and fish sauce in
addition to the main ingredient, with only some celery added where
A few types of yam need special mention as they differ somewhat from
the basic recipe as mentioned above:
Yam naem khao thot (also known as naem khluk) is a salad made from
crushed, deep-fried ball shaped croquettes made from sticky rice and
curry paste as the main ingredient, tossed together with shredded
fermented pork sausage, and mixed with peanuts, crushed dried
chillies, lime juice, sliced shallots and fresh herbs, and served with
a selection of fresh greens and additional herbs on the side.
Yam thawai is an elaborate salad made with chicken and a wide
selection of vegetables, such as banana flowers, eggplant, string
beans, bamboo shoots and bean sprouts, blanched shortly in coconut
milk, and then served together with a creamy curry-like dressing.
Yam pla duk fu or pla duk fu yam mamuang is deep-fried flaked catfish
meat served with a dressing made with thinly sliced unripe mango,
shallots, chillies, lime juice, sugar and fish sauce.
Yam kung ten or just kung ten is a salad made with very small
translucent freshwater shrimp. The novelty of this dish is that a
spicy lime dressing is first placed at the bottom of a bowl, which is
then filled to the brim with the live shrimp and closed off with a
lid. When the lid is opened by an unsuspecting dinner guest, some of
the small wriggling shrimp jump out of the bowl. Kung ten literally
means "dancing shrimp". Shaking the bowl mixes the live shrimp with
the sour dressing which kills them.
Northern Thai yam do not follow the usual Thai yam dressing in that
they tend not to be sour at all. Many are soup-like in appearance and
resemble cold vegetable, meat or fish stews. They are made similarly
to a salad, by combining the separate (cold) ingredients into one dish
together with fresh herbs. Very often a sauce made from boiled
fermented fish is used as a flavouring.
Yam som o, a yam made with pomelo, can utilise a different dressing
altogether than a standard yam. As the pomelo, being a citrus fruit,
is already naturally tart, the dressing can be sweet and/or creamy. It
is therefore that recipes often make use of palm sugar, tamarind and
coconut milk to complement the taste of the pomelo.
Yam salat is commonly used to denote Western salads in Thai, usually
to refer to salads that use mayonnaise in the dressing.
Yam maeng da is made from grilled
Horseshoe crab and only the eggs are
eaten. Has a nutty and strong fishy taste.
Main article: Green papaya salad
Northern Thai tam som o
The most famous, and for many also the original, tam (ตำ,
pronounced [tām]), lit. "pounded") style salad is som tam, made
from unripe papaya. The basic dressing for a som tam-style salad
contains garlic, palm sugar, lime juice, bird's-eye chillies, dried
shrimp and fish sauce. This dressing is slightly pounded and mixed
together inside an earthenware mortar using a wooden pestle. With
certain kinds of tam, some or all of the additional ingredients will
also be pounded slightly if this helps to release the flavours. Though
with dishes such as tam phonla mai (fruit) or tam mu yo (a sausage
similar to liverwurst), the main ingredients are simply mixed in with
the dressing. Many types of tam salads will also contain (sliced)
Northern Thai tam are quite different altogether. Most of these dishes
do not use any lime or tamarind juice, nor any vinegar in their
dressing, thereby lacking the sour element seen in many salads. Tam
makhuea for instance, is made from mashed grilled eggplant, grilled
shallots and garlic, roasted chillies, fish and shrimp paste and
served with mint and boiled egg. It is somewhat similar to other
eggplant salads from around the world such as baba ghanoush. Further
removed from what would still be viewed as a salad in the West, is the
northern Thai tam khanun, made with mashed boiled whole baby
jackfruit, dried chillies, minced pork stir-fried with a chilli paste,
cherry tomatoes, fresh kaffir lime leaves, and coriander leaves.
Another traditional salad from northern
Thailand is tam khai mot
daeng, made with the eggs of the red ant. Phak phai (Vietnamese mint)
is one of the more unusual herbs used in this salad. A tam style
salad from northern
Thailand that is also famous in the rest of
Thailand, is tam som-o (pomelo salad), in which the slightly pounded
flesh of a pomelo is mixed with garlic, sliced lemongrass, and a thick
pungent black paste (nam pu) made from boiling down the juices and
meat of rice-paddy crabs.
Main article: Larb
Lap mu Isan
Lap or larb (ลาบ, pronounced [lâːp]) is one of the
internationally most well-known salads from Thailand. The spicy, sweet
and very tart style of lap from Laos and northeastern
Thailand is made
with a dressing of lime juice, fish sauce, ground dried chillies,
sugar and, very importantly, khao khua, ground dry roasted glutinous
rice which gives this salad its specific nutty flavour. Coriander
leaves and chopped spring onions finish off the dish. Lap is most
commonly made with minced pork or minced chicken, but in Thailand, lap
pla, with fish, is also popular. Nam tok is a derivative of lap where
the meat is sliced and not minced.
Northern Thai lap is a very different type of dish. As with the
northern Thai tam, no souring agent is used in these dishes.
Especially the versions using stir-fried minced meat (lap khua) more
resemble a "normal" meat dish than a salad; but, as with salads,
different ingredients, including fresh herbs and spices, are freshly
mixed together to form the dish. Other versions of this northern Thai
speciality use raw meat or fish.
Phla (พล่า, pronounced [pʰlâː]) style salads can be
made with a variety of proteins but not thoroughly cooked (rare to
medium). Popularly used are pork (phla mu), prawns (phla kung) or beef
(phla nuea). The basic dressing is very much the same as a yam but
with a difference. In addition to the fish sauce, lime juice,
chillies, and shallots or onions, a phla style salad will also always
contain large amounts of thinly sliced lemongrass and mint. Additional
fresh herbs, such as coriander leaves, can also be added to the mix.
Some versions are made with grilled pork or beef, other versions
will also have nam phrik phao, a sweet roasted chilli paste, mixed in
with the dressing. This last version is popular with squid (phla pla
muek) and with prawns.
The following dishes can also be regarded as salads:
Khanom chin sao nam is a kind of noodle salad using fresh Thai rice
noodles called khanom chin, mixed in with thick coconut milk, chopped
pineapple, garlic, bird's-eye chillies, ginger "au julienne", lime
juice, fish sauce, and pounded dried shrimp.
Mu kham wan or mu manao is a salad-like dish of sliced grilled pork
over which a spicy and very sweet dressing made with lime juice,
garlic, bird's-eye chillies, sugar and fish sauce is poured. This
dressing is basically a generic Thai nam chim (lit. "dipping
sauce"). It is often served sprinkled with mint leaves and served
together with thinly sliced raw Chinese broccoli which are made extra
crispy by serving the sliced vegetable on a bed of ice.
Sa are salad-like dishes from northern
Thailand which can use a
similar chilli and spice paste as the northern Thai lap, but with
sliced raw shallots and garlic added into the dish. Two of the
numerous variations are sa phli, which is made with uncooked sliced
banana flowers, and sa chin, with sliced raw buffalo meat. Sa
taengkwa however, which is made with cucumber, doesn't use the lap
spice mix but instead a mix of shrimp paste, roasted fermented soy
bean and boiled fermented fish.
Achat is the Thai version of the Malay and Indonesian pickle called
acar. Where the original acar can be made with a whole range of
vegetables, the Thai versions are limited to cucumber. Achat is often
served in a small dish as a dipping sauce for sate, thot man pla
(spicy Thai fish cakes), and popia thot (deep-fried spring rolls).
Taengkwa priao wan is a similar salad-like cucumber pickle.
Sup no mai (lit. "bamboo-shoot salad") is a salad made by first
boiling bamboo shoots, ya nang leaf juice and other ingredients
together, after which the resulting salad is mixed with fresh herbs,
sliced onions and dried chillies.
Khao yam pak tai (ข้าวยำปักษ์ใต้, lit.
"southern Thai mixed rice") is one of the staples of southern
Thailand. It comes in many versions but the basic recipe for the most
widespread variation involves mixing cold cooked rice with pieces or
slices of unripe mango or pomelo, dried shrimp, budu sauce, bean
sprouts, toasted coconut flakes, sliced lemongrass and kaffir lime
leaves. Sometimes lime juice is added for additional tartness.
Miang kham are small "salad" parcels made with the fresh peppery leaf
of the chaphlu wrapped around a filling of toasted coconut, chopped
lime, bird's-eye chillies, shallots and ginger, which has been topped
with a sweet and savoury sauce made from palm sugar and fish sauce.
Variations include additional ingredients for the filling such as
dried shrimp, roasted peanuts, fried fish or meat, sliced lemongrass,
and alternative ingredients for the sauce such as tamarind, shrimp
paste and galangal. These bite sized parcels are often eaten as a
snack or appetizer.
Although not really a salad as it doesn't involve mixing ingredients
into a specific dish, the Thai tradition of serving a selection of
fresh and boiled greens (often vegetables but also raw tree leaves,
steamed mushrooms, or cooked pumpkin) together with a saucer or bowl
of nam phrik (Thai chilli paste), fits one of the usual
characteristics of a salad, being cold vegetables with a "sauce" as an
accompaniment to a meal.
List of Thai dishes
List of Thai ingredients
List of salads
Archived from the original on June 2, 2013. Retrieved June 7,
2012. Missing or empty title= (help)
Salad of White Turmeric, Salted Prawns and Pork, ThaiFoodMaster.com,
5 November 2010.
^ Yam Mu Yaw (Spicy Northern-style Pork Sausage Salad), Tam Ra Ahan
Thai (Thai Recipes), Clay's Kitchen, received 4 November 2013.
^ Spicy Chinese Sausage
Salad – Yam Kun Chiang, She Simmers: Thai
Home Cooking, 27 July 2009.
^ Thai Green Mango
Salad with Grilled Shrimp and Cashews, She Simmers:
Thai Home Cooking, 9 February 2011.
Salad of Boiled Pork Sausage, She Simmers: Thai Home Cooking,
9 August 2011.
Naem Khao Tod by Spoon Thai Restaurant, Chicago, She Simmers: Thai
Home Cooking, 26 September 2011.
Salad of Chicken and Seven Vegetables Blanched in Coconut Milk
and Served With Sour-Salty and Sweet Coconut Curry Dressing, Crispy
Fried Shallots and Roasted Sesame Seeds, ThaiFoodMaster.com, 8
^ Yam Pla Duk Fu (Crispy
Catfish Green Mango Salad), Tam Ra Ahan Thai
(Thai Recipes), Clay's Kitchen, received 4 November 2013.
^ Yam Kung Ten ("Dancing" Shrimp Salad), Tam Ra Ahan Thai (Thai
Recipes), Clay's Kitchen, received 4 November 2013
^ ":: Lanna Food,LannaFood,Thai Food,Thai Lanna Food,Food and
Cuisine,Northern Thai Food ::". Library.cmu.ac.th. Archived from
the original on October 16, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
Pomelo Salad, ThaiFoodMaster.com, 4 May 2009.
^ Spicy Tuna
Salad Tuna), KitchenAholics, 27 November 2011.
Fruit Som Tam: Som Tam Pon La Mai, She Simmers: Thai Home Cooking,
20 December 2009.
^ "Tam khanun - Lanna Food Northern Thai Information Center, Chiang
Mai University Library". Library.cmu.ac.th. 2007-06-15. Retrieved
^ "Tam khai mot-daeng - Lanna Food Northern Thai Information Center,
Chiang Mai University Library". Library.cmu.ac.th. 2007-06-26.
^ "Tam som-o - Lanna Food Northern Thai Information Center, Chiang
Mai University Library". Library.cmu.ac.th. 2007-06-26. Retrieved
^ Lap kai, Lanna Food, Chiang Mai University.
^ Bush, Austin (2014-06-03). "Northern Thailand's Raw Food Movement
Involves Blood and Guts MUNCHIES". Munchies.vice.com. Retrieved
^ พล่าหมูย่าง (Spicy Pork Salad), NuiHome.com, 2
^ Phla Pla Muek (Spicy
Squid Salad), Tam Ra Ahan Thai (Thai Recipes),
Clay's Kitchen, received 4 November 2013.
^ ขนมจีนซาวน้ำ - A Piquant Ambrosia, Ohsirin:
Eating Out Loud, 15 April 2011.
^ Mu Manao (Spicy Pork with Lime), Tam Ra Ahan Thai (Thai Recipes),
Clay's Kitchen, received 4 November 2013.
^ "Sa pli - Lanna Food Northern Thai Information Center, Chiang Mai
University Library". Library.cmu.ac.th. 2007-06-14. Archived from the
original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
^ Sa chin, Lanna Food, Chiang Mai University.
^ "Sa traeng-kwa - Lanna Food Northern Thai Information Center,
Chiang Mai University Library". Library.cmu.ac.th. 2007-06-14.
Archived from the original on October 7, 2014. Retrieved
^ Achat (Cucumber Pickle), Tam Ra Ahan Thai (Thai Recipes), Clay's
Kitchen, received 4 November 2013.
^ Bamboo Salad: Soup No Mai, Joy's Thai Food, 2 November 2007.
^ Southern Thai
Salad – Khao Yam (ข้าวยำ), She
Simmers: Thai Home Cooking, 28 February 2011.
^ Thai Appetizer - Miang Kham Recipe: Tasty Thai Leaf-wrapped Tidbits,
Templeofthai.com, received 4 November 2013.
^ Thai Food Recipe: Miang Kham (Wild Betel Leaf Wraps) Joy's Thai
Food, 28 August 2011.
^ "Namphrik ong". Northern Thai Information Center, Chiang Mai
University Library. Library.cmu.ac.th. 2007-07-06. Archived from the
original on October 7, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
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