Thursday, October 18, 2012

Som tam - Thailand's Green papaya salad

Spicy green papaya salad or "som tam" is a typical Isaan or northeaster Thai dish - loved by locals for its delicious, refreshing spiciness. The dish is well know in neighboring Laos as 'tam mak hoong' and as 'bok l'hong' in Cambodia. 

Som Tam is listed as number 6 on World's 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011.

The spicy green papaya salad combines all for different tastes - sour (lime), spicy (dired chili), salty (fermented fish sauce) and sweetness (sugar and sometimes fruits).

All ingredients are chopped in pieces and added to a mortar where they are pounded and mixed - "som tam" translates as "sour pounded" while the Lao and Khmer name translates into pounded papaya.

As green papaya is used for the dish, the overall taste is rather sour than sweet with a lovely crispy and crunchy texture - a dish like heaven in the tropical climate of Southeast Asia...

It is not uncommon to be asked or offered to try a little in order to prepare the dish to your liking. While in central Thailand locals referred to the salad as "som tam Thai" or "som tam" in Laos or Isaan people use the term Lao. But careful - unlike "som tam Thai" - "som tam Lao or tam mak hoong" comes with an additional ingredient - fermented fish sauce - a taste of its own.

True lovers would not dare to eat this salad without fermented fish sauce, but for beginners the taste might be  strong and take a while to get familiar with to say the least...

While in Bangkok's restaurants customers will usually get "som tam Thai", in Bangkok's road it is better to expects it's Lao/Isaan variation - usually prepared by immigrants from upcountry. This traditional Lao/Isaan style green papaya salad is a good as it can get. Beware of chili's! Expect lots of them...


  • the most important one : fresh, raw and green papaya
Add to the papaya slices some or most of the following items, make sure you pound them well:
  • Chili
  • Sugar (traditionally palm sugar)
  • Garlic
  • Lime
  • Fish sauce
  • Crabs
  • Shrimp paste
  • Pla ra / padaek (fermented fish sauce)
  • Tomatoes
  • Yardlong beans
  • Hog Plums
  • Raw Thai eggplant

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bueng Kan connected - 5th Mekong bridge planned

Bung Kan will get connected to Laos Bolikhamsay province through a 1.5 kilometre, 1.5 billion baht Friendship bridge..

According to Bung Kan's Governor Pornsak Jearanai, should the construction of the bridge begin within the next three years. "The Thai cabinet has approved the project and the governments of both countries have agreed in principle to have the fifth bridge built."

The 5th Friendship bridge will be built about 12 km east of the center of Buneg Kan and will link the province with the capital of Bolikhamxay Paksan.

It is expected, that once the bridge is open trade will increase between the two countries from the present 5.4 billon baht to some 24 billion baht. This would be a similar level as the trade volume of the 1st Thai - Lao Friendship bridge in Nong Khai and Vientiane.

The Bung Kan Friendship bridge will shorten the traveling distance from Thailand to Vietnam considerably, thus also boost cross border, holiday and business traffic between the three countries: Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

This will allow Bung Kan to become a bridge head into Indochina and Chine.

Other Friendship bridges are:

  • 1st Thai - Lao Friendship bridge: Nong Khai (TH) - Vientiane (LAO), 1'170m (0.73 mi) long, the bridge has two lanes, two footpaths and a single 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) gauge railway line in the middle of the bridge.
  • 2nd  Thai - Lao Friendship bridge: Mukdahan (TH) - Savannakhet (LAO), 1'600 meters (1.0 mi) long and 12 meters (39 ft) wide, with two traffic lanes.
  • 3rd Thai - Lao Friendship bridge: Nakhon Phanom (TH) - Thakhek (LAO), 1'423 m long and 13 m wide.
  • 4th Thai - Lao Friendship bridge: Chiang Khong (TH) - Houay Xay (LAO), proposed bridge...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Stay in Style - The One Hotel in Bueng Kan

During the yearly renewal of my Visa Extension I had the opportunity to stay at The One hotel - Muang Bueng Kan's most recent hotel addition.

The five-story hotel offers 74 superior and deluxe rooms along with 5 The One Suites, right at the entrance of the town, close to the new Tesco Lotus shopping mall and the City Hall of Bueng Kan.

The brand new modern rooms are spacious, bright and nicely decorated and offer all required amenities. The One Hotel has a restaurant, fitness center, meeting facilities, pool, poolside bar and garden.

The One Hotel is an ideal place to stay while in Bueng Kan.

The One hotel is at 59 moo1 Bueng Kan - Nakhon Phanom Rd., Bueng Kan, Muang Bueng Kan, Bueng Kan, Thailand 38000