In Thailand, green papaya salad is called som tum, with “som” meaning “sour” and “tum” referring to the pounding sound of the large pestle used to crush ingredients. It is eaten by itself as a snack, or with marinated grilled beef and chicken. In the middle of a hot afternoon, green papaya salad wakes you up with the sour and the spicy. In Laos and Thailand, there is always a vendor selling green papaya salad. The most important flavor for Lao green papaya salad is the heat from chilies. Everything else is there to balance it out. Peanuts in green papaya salad are Thai, not authentic Lao, which the major difference.