While I was perusing the Santa Monica Wednesday Farmer's Market last week, I spotted a sign that read "Green Papayas for Sale". I rubbed my eyes really hard, trying to make sure the previous evening's libations weren't still effecting my vision. Nope! The sign was still there, clear as day. I was in a state of shock. I walked over, picked up one of the emerald gems and smiled wider than a kid let loose in a chocolate swimming pool.
You see, I have this obsession with Green Papaya Salad...known to it's native country of Thailand as Som Tum. It's flavor graces every one of the taste buds. It's savory, sweet, spicy and served chilled. The perfect dish on a summer evening. Green Papaya Salad is simply fantastic. God bless your little soul should you dine at a Thai restaurant with me and try to take a bite. Having a chopstick impale your hand is not a pleasant experience ;)
Anyway, the first time I tried to make it on my own, I wasn't as familiar with the ethnic markets in Los Angeles as I am today. I searched high and low, east side and west side, until I was finally able to locate one in the Valley. DEEP in the valley. Those of you that know Los Angeles probably understand why I wasn't itching to make it again. Clearly, my karma bank is in the positive right now and the universe decided to throw me some chips.
The authentic version calls for actual Fish Sauce, but if you can't find Vegetarian Fish Sauce, you can use soy sauce instead.