At most Thai joints, the papaya salad is rarely one of the more memorable plates. Swimming in a cloyingly sugary dressing or wilted beyond recognition, these sub-par salads do nothing to showcase the vibrancy of a truly exemplary Green Papaya Salad. To experience the salad the way it's meant to be enjoyed, we turn to Tom Vandenberghe and Eva Verplaetse, the Thai food-loving co-authors of Bangkok Street Food.
'papaya' on Serious Eats
This recipe from Bangkok Street Food comes from years of on-the-street research—that is,loads of spicy-fresh papaya salads made streetside, pounded with a mortar and pestle for optimal enjoyment. Aside from the papaya and a really fabulous dressing of chiles, garlic, and fish sauce, this salad calls for a few other veggies: long beans and Thai eggplant. Finished off with a handful of roasted peanuts and chewy dried shrimp, this papaya salad is tasty on so many levels—crisp, hot, sweet, crunchy, and fishy in the best possible way.
I usually go to Tai Pan Bakery for a fix of creamy, sweet Hong Kong Milk Tea—iced in the summer and hot in the winter. But a friend recently turned me on to their Papaya Milk ($4.25), which she swears by on those muggy, warm days. It's made with fresh papayas—about half a papaya in each order, blended with skim milk, sugar, and ice.
If you've only ever enjoyed the sweet, juicy flesh of ripe papaya, you might not be familiar with the fruit in its unripened staged. Green papaya flesh has a foamy texture and a mild, almost tasteless flavor. But if you massage shredded green papaya with salt and sugar, a preparation you might also use for daikon or carrots, the papaya flesh becomes sweet and crispy, with a mild, cucumber-like flavor.
Before Jamba Juice and Smoothie King took over our morning meals and afternoon snacks, there was the lassi. This yogurt-based beverage has been an Indian tradition for hundreds, and some say thousands, of years. A lassi can be either sweet or savory and is frequently served during the summer to combat the heat. This version is a variation on the tremendously popular North Indian mango lassi, using papaya and citrus for a bright and refreshing drink.
Has your baby reached the "papaya" stage? Image from The Nest Earlier in my pregnancy I kept coming across books and websites that would inform me of baby’s current size by comparing her to a fruit or vegetable. This struck...