All About Food · Ingredients for Life · Recipes · Thai Food

Thai Pomelo Salad (yum som-o)

Pomelo is one of my favorite fruits that I discovered while living in Thailand. Being in the Bay Area I am fortunate enough to have a variety of grocers that carry all sorts of goodies. At my last trip to Berkeley Bowl they had some small pink pomelo’s. They were about 2.75 USD cheaper than the larger ones and the peel didn’t seem as thick as the large ones that are the size of a small soccer ball. I bought a few and thought they would be perfect star for my blog post on Thai Pomelo Salad or yum som-o kung (salad pomelo shrimp).

This salad is so easy to make and very healthy to eat (for the most part). It offers a sweet, sour, salty and spicy combination which is the perfect combination in any Thai dish. It was the perfect after treadmill lunch for me on this wonderfully sunny California winter day.


What you will need:

1 small-medium pomelo, peeled and sectioned

1 small shallot, finely sliced (reserve some to keep raw for the salad)

3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

1 small handful of peanuts, crushed in mortar (or with knife)

3 Thai chiles chopped (remove seeds for less heat)

1 green onion, cut into small pieces

4 sprigs of mint, leaves only

5 sprigs of coriander (cilantro), leaves only

Shrimp, peeled and deveined

salt & fresh cracked pepper


2 T of fish sauce

1-2 T of palm sugar (or a light brown sugar)

1/2 tsp of agave nectar

2 T of fresh lime juice


Leaving the tails on the shrimp make for nice presentation. It also helps to pick up with your hands (yes, I am suggesting it is okay to eat with your hands)

What you will do:

1. Peel the pomelo and break each piece into smaller bite size pieces and set aside.

2. Combine the ingredients for the dressing and give a good stir. Taste and adjust any seasoning. Once dressing is made, set aside for later.

3. Prep all the other ingredients and set aside. Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a shallow pan for frying the garlic and shallots. When oil has come to up to temperature, fry the garlic and the shallots. Drain on kitchen towel and reserve for later.

BUT BE CAREFUL not to let them burn. Garlic turns extremely bitter when it is over fried.

4. Salt and pepper the shrimp and cook. I used a small frying pan and some of the oil from the fried shallots and garlic. Shrimp do not take long to cook. They will start to curl and turn pink, when that happens turn over and give them a few more minutes.

5. Time to assemble your salad. In a bowl, add the pomelo, peanuts, garlic and shallots, raw shallots, chilies, mint, coriander, shrimp, green onion and the dressing. Give the salad a good toss to mix everything together. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy!



You can also add mixed greens to this to give a little more substance to the salad (if you like).



This salad is great family style or alone as a meal. This recipe was perfect for one but if you are making it for more just double or triple the recipe, etc.



Coconut shavings would go well with this dish too. Next time, I would add some glass noodles. Glass noodles, or vermicelli noodles are wonderful because they are light and absorb any flavor you mix with them.


A great cheat. Most Asian or specialty markets will sell fried garlic and fried shallots. They last a long time and take a lot of the guesswork out of frying those little suckers yourself. In this case, I say go ahead and cheat!

I hope you give this salad a try. It is so delicious and offers the essential flavors in Thai cooking. Not only does it offer the salty, sweet, spicy and sour combination it also has a lot of different textures so your mouth doesn’t get bored. It’s a pretty salad, tastes delicious and is really healthy (for the most part).

Cheers and happy eating!


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