HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
What's your latest food project?

Where can I buy green papaya for Som Tam

beanodc Sep 1, 2012 10:03 PM

I am not sure that I have the name right but I want to buy green papaya for that delicious Vietnamese salad that I love. Recently I bought a VERY large green papaye at the Shoppers at 7 Corners. It had no particular scent and was very solid. OK I thought, this is what I need for the salad. After 3 days, I cut it open and it was a perfectly ripe papaya. Where can I buy a papaya for my salad?

  1. Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. z
    Ziv Sep 2, 2012 06:16 AM

    I think Bangkok 54's grocery store has them, Google them and give them a call to make sure. They have a small produce section that is really nice, I like their peppers and Thai eggplant.

    1. d
      dining with doc Sep 2, 2012 08:45 AM

      Likely at H Mart

      1. sbp Sep 2, 2012 08:46 AM

        In my area, there aren't many asian supermarkets, but there ARE many hispanic markets, and many of them carry green papaya.

        1. e
          eguder Sep 2, 2012 12:11 PM

          They have it at Duangrat's Grocery in Falls Church, pre-shredded

          1. b
            beanodc Sep 4, 2012 10:32 AM

            Thanks for all the responses. I don't find the staff at H Mart to be particularly helpful and I shop there weekly. What do I call it - in other words, is there a name other than green papaya?

            1. luckyfatima Sep 4, 2012 06:16 PM

              You can buy it at any Asian-International hypermarket, as green papaya is used in a wide range of cuisines. South Asian grocers also carry it. Cutting it into fine shreds without the proper tool is a hassle, but if you can find a Vietnamese market (such as the one in Eden Center) they sell bags of pre-cut salad type strands of green papaya.

              Green papaya has no scent. It is tangy. Once it ripens, it is a totally different creature and not suitable for salad. When they say "green" they mean unripe, b/c ripened papaya can also be green on the outside but pink-orange on the inside. I don't know how to explain to you to choose the correct unripened versus the ripened one, but I can just tell by looking. Hopefully, it will be labeled for you better.

              1 Reply
              1. re: luckyfatima
                bmorecupcake Sep 5, 2012 08:14 AM

                There is definitely some knowledge and experience required in selecting prime green papaya. At the Songkran festival in Silver Spring, most Som Tam vendors have crisp, flavorful green papaya. I'm not sure how they do it. When I purchase green papaya myself at H Mart, I have a success rate of about 20%. Often, the papaya is either too unripe, overripe, or bland.

              2. alkapal Sep 6, 2012 10:59 PM

                eden center grocery store has pre-shredded green papaya in plastic bags in the fridge case next to the produce section.

                does anyone know when the new huge chinese/asian supermarket is opening there in the building next to eden center?

                Show Hidden Posts