I was battling a cold in Pakse, Laos. Aunt Phone suggested that I eat Tum Som of any kind to help me feel better. One of Mair Yar Khao’s daughter told me to go pick a papaya in her garden. Her house was a few meters away and I walked over and selected one papaya which turned out to be a little bit ripe. Aunt Phone shredded the papaya while I went to Mair Yar Khao’s garden to pick some Pak Bong and Pak Katin to go with Tum Mak Houng.

After Aunt Phone made a plate of spicy Tum Mak Houng (ຕໍາໝາກຫຸ່ງ)aka Lao Green Papaya Salad for the rest of the family members, I went to work and made a mild version for myself using only three chili peppers. I used shrimp paste, sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce for seasoning. My version of Tum Mak Houng turned out nicely but I didn’t eat much of it since I didn’t have much of an appetite. There were plenty of relatives to help me eat the salad and do the dishes afterward.