Thai Pomelo Salad


Here is another terrific and easy to make Thai salad. I actually like this salad made with our Philippine pomelos rather than the larger, paler greenish pomelos from Thailand. So many local Thai restaurants have this on their menus, but many of them use all kinds of tricks to “extend” the dish, including lettuce, cucumbers and other things to bulk it up, not to mention taking away most of the spice… I decided to try and make a version at home that was mostly pomelo, and which didn’t go too shy on the spices. A warning on the amount of chili used, however. Some siling labuyo or bird’s eye chillies are simply hotter than others. Start off with a smaller number of chillies then add some more if it isn’t spicy enough. The dish is meant to be spicy, but balanced as well. I also like to eat this with fried food. If you managed to make the previously posted Thai green papaya salad, this one will be a cinch to do…


This recipe is essentially David Thompson’s, from his “Thai Food” cookbook, though a couple of ingredients were missing from our fridge. In a mortar and pestle, smash a clove of garlic and two siling labuyo with about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Then add a finely chopped stalk of lemon grass and smash it up some more. About a tablespoon of dried shrimp and the juice of one wedge of lime and smash this more and mix into about 1.5-2.0 cups of shredded pomelo. Add about 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar or palm sugar, more lime juice and 3-4 teaspoons of good Thai fish sauce. Mix this all up and serve as is or chilled slightly. The heat of the chili is offset by the sweetness of the pomelo, and it is a bracing and flavor packed accompaniment to fried foods. If you don’t overdo the chilis, it is a perfect starter dish as well, in small servings. I have to say, however, that you will have garlic breath for several hours after munching on this salad, but at least that will keep the vampires away! :)


13 Responses

  1. Garlic! I would never have thought of that in this recipe. Interesting. I love pomelo salad, but have eaten it before with more of a western twist. And pink is superior to the yellow kind, i agree.

  2. your website is so beautiful..i am passing it on to all my friends and contacts here and abroad….makes me super proud of my Manila. Thank u very much!

  3. Love this a lot too. Didn’t see garlic or lemongrass in the receipes I found on the internet – maybe that was the missing thing the last time i tried doing this at home. Thanks for the recipe MM… Too bad it will be a long time before Pomelos will be available in Beijing (oddly you can only find them in the markets during winter)

  4. I had a pomelo salad cooked into an omelette in Bkk once. Interesting contrast, the tartness and juice of the pomelo against the creamy omelette with a healthy kick from the red chillis.

  5. mmmmm. . . yummy, i wonder if this will taste good with crabmeat too. . . i’ll try it. . . adding crabmeat. . .

  6. hi mm. out of the topic. been browsing your old posts, just read the entire bird’s nest entry, there are 3 new comments from 3 different names selling birds nest, with contact info on…. hmmn maybe they’ve read cecils comment that she wants to buy them. I’m just concerned. many might locate these info’s hence will go buy these bird’s nests which i don’t want to happen.

  7. Just had this last night, but with added shrimps, peanuts and some crushed cilantro. YUM-O.

  8. sunset, those comments have been deleted; thanks for the heads up. Myra, I like the idea of shrimps added, will try that in an hour for dinner… :)

  9. yum…this is one of my favorite things to order at thai restaurants here. i find the texture more refreshing than mango salad.

  10. One of our favorites, we just put some vinegar and bagoong isda, wow it’s so delicious….you’ve got to try that Mr M.

  11. The traditional base dressing for Thai salads consists of fish sauce (patis), sugar (palm or brown), lime juice (lime or dayap). Like somtam, locals actually make this with finely sliced shallots (sometimes deep fried to add a different depth/dimension), finely chopped garlic cloves, cooked shrimp/prawns, crab meat, roasted peanuts, mint & cilantro/coriander leaves. Don’t forget the quintessential siling labuyo….David Thompson is actually one of the very few (handful) international celebrity cooks/chefs recognized in Thailand but not totally accepted because he had Westernized the traditional Thai dishes.

  12. I love thai salads, they’re so refreshing, especially during a hot Manila day… you may want to try thai beef salad– without the beef, just the cucumber, tomato and white onion… goes so well with fried fish… its just calamansi, thai patis, garlic, bit of soy sauce, sugar and chili of course, to tolerance…

  13. we had this at CHIC AND FAB in Crossroads Mall in Cebu City.
    It was HORRIBLE!!!!! In fact, the entire meal was HORRIBLE!!! All the dishes had sliced onions- red, white and even the green leaves, and i think nothing else. Were there a couple of squid tentacles in one dish?

    As for the pomelo salad- nalumos / nalunod sa sobrang daming sibuyas (all colors and varieties).

    Don’t go there for your pomelo salad, if you value your money and sanity!!



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