green banana salad (ຕໍາໝາກກ້ວຍ—tam mak koy)

The mildly astringent taste and fibrous texture make this a truly unique dish. Green banana salad, or tam maak koy(ຕໍາໝາກກ້ວຍ) in Lao, is a type of sour, pounded dish known as tam som(ຕໍາສົ້ມ). Lime juice and tomato provide acidity, which is complimented by the other spices.

Traditionally, an unripened, green banana is held in the palm and repeatedly struck with a knife and rotated until it falls apart into shreds. Be careful if unfamiliar with this method. The banana shreds are mixed with the spices and served fresh.

Green papaya salad(ຕໍາໝາກຫຸ່ງ) is the most popular variety of tam som; other varieties include eggplant salad(ຕໍາຫມາກເຂືອ), cucumber salad(ຕໍາໝາກແຕງ), and long bean salad(ຕໍາໝາກຖົ່ວ).


(serves 1)

1 clove garlic
2 bird’s eye chili
1 tsp salt
½ piece palm sugar
1 lime juice
1 tomato, chopped (optional)
4 long bean, chopped (optional)
1 green burro banana or Thai banana, shredded (option: soak in lime water 10 minutes to reduce bitterness)
peanut, roasted (optional)

• pound garlic, chili, salt, sugar, lime
• add tomato, long bean
• add banana, peanut
• toss
• serve