Som Tum Pa Mon (Local Som Tum Restaurant)

A local secret—Authentic Thai food in Pattaya

It is a well known fact that Thai’s love their food, and one of the best and most representative of the national favorites is Som Tum. The spicy papaya salad is credited as Thai women’s secret to beauty and slimness, and maybe there’s some truth to that!

When you are in the Pattaya area the place to try is Som Tum Pa Mon. You will find the restaurant simple in design with a perfectly functional layout—a real authentic Thailand experience.

This hot and sour papaya salad with fresh, small prawns is made at home, by street vendors, and at many of the local restaurants. The sound of som tum being prepared will be heard everywhere you go, and some people even call it “pock pock salad” for this reason.

It is the sound of a wooden pestle on a clay mortar. One good sized clove of garlic goes in first, followed by green beans and halved cherry tomatoes, these ingredients are pounded just enough to bruise the beans and bring juice from the tomatoes. Chilli peppers are then added and crushed to release just some of their hot spice. That is, unless you like your salad really hot, in which case just keep on crushing.

The green papaya, prawns, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar are the final ingredients to go into your mortar. These ingredients are absolutely magical together! You then use the pestle to push the mixture up and a spatula to press it down. This process continues until you have a well mixed combination of ingredients. The dish is then ready to serve.

Som Tum Pa Mon has its own secret recipe, and it is a real hit. You will find the restaurant is constantly busy. It does have to be said that the majority of customers are locals, but you do get a steady stream of tourists who are looking to appreciate a traditional Thai dish made in a traditional way, and eaten in authentic surroundings. You will be assured of a warm welcome upon arrival and a friendly farewell as you leave.

This dish originates from the Northeastern region of Thailand, which is commonly referred to as Isaan. It is usually accompanied by sticky rice and other dishes from the region such as laab, bamboo shoot salad and beef salad. Deep fried chicken wings are also a staple on the menu.

You can purchase soft drinks and water to help with those ‘spicier’ moments, and the bill at the end of this eating experience will be a delightful surprise in terms of how little the meal actually costs.

Som Tum Pa Mon will give you a taste of a real Thai dish in a real Thai way, and the experience is well worth the journey.

Some Advice about “Thai spicy”

The Thai phrase for “not spicy” is “mai pet.” Here, “mai pet” will bring your som tum to non-nuclear levels of spiciness. “Mai pet looey” (not spicy at all) is a better bet, and will bring it down to a Western-syle “medium.” “Juuert” is the least spicy option, and (because it means “flavorless”) will get the heat level to acceptable to all but the most delicate palates. Som tum is not at all recommended to people with seafood or peanut allergies.

Directions to an authentic Thai restaurant

To reach Som Tum Pa Mon from central Pattaya, take Sukhumvit Road in the direction of Sattahip, pass the floating market and make a U-turn when you see the pedestrian bridge and Ambassador City Jomtien on your right. After 300 meters and passing the very yellow “Captain Paint Store,” you’ll see the unassuming, open-air Som Tum Pa Mon just before Soi 14. Enjoy your well-earned reward!