In the previous article, we have introduced a few types of Som Tum or the spicy Thai papaya salad, and how the dish is relatively vegetarian friendly. In this article, we will be examining this dish from the health angle. This includes Thai papaya salad calories count and other health considerations.
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Thai papaya salad calories
Thai papaya salad itself has relatively low calories. Let’s take a dish of Som Tum Thai as an example, this Thai papaya salad dish may have around 150-200 calories by our estimate but this depends on the ingredients of each dish:
- Raw papaya: approximately half of a raw papaya per dish would have less than 100 calories
- Green beans: ~1-2 green beans: around 17 calories per serving (source)
- Tomato: 4 small cherry tomatoes would have around 12 calories (source)
- Peanut: 1 tablespoon of roasted peanuts would give ~40-50 calories
Following the above breakdown, a dish of Thai papaya salad would give around 150-200 calories, which is quite low. You can also cut the calories down further by removing peanuts from the dish!
Other variations of Thai papaya salad may contain slightly higher calories than the breakdown above. For example Som Tum with fruits that make use of ripe apple may contain higher calories as some fruits tend to have more calories than raw papaya.
100g comparison according to https://www.calorieking.com:
- Raw papaya: 55 calories
- Apple with skin: 93 calories
- Grapes: 100 calories
- Pomelo: 230 calories
A full meal: going behind Thai papaya salad calories
As mentioned in the previous article, Som Tum meal is often accompanied by carb (like sticky rice) and protein (like grilled chicken). Having said that, you will have to watch out for calories from those too if you decide to go with a full meal since the calories can add up to 300 to 500 calories easily!
- Thai papaya salad: 150 calories
- 200g of sticky rice: ~200 calories
- A chicken drumstick: ~100 calories
Not to mention other components of a full Thai papaya salad meal like fresh vegetable, herbs or even other common dishes like grilled pork neck!
Is Som Tum healthy?
As you can see from above, the main ingredients for a Thai papaya salad dish like raw papaya, green bean, tomato and peanuts are all natural and do not have excessive amounts of calories. Hence, the short answer is yes. The dish is healthy unless you like really strong flavour and add too much sugar and fish sauce. Do note that a variation of Som Tum such as Som Tum Pla Ra contains fermented fish and there have been some warning against excessive consumption of such dish in Thailand. As always, moderation is key when consuming anything.
Learn more about Thailand via our other posts!
- Tom Yum Soup Calories & Health Benefits
- Ayutthaya hotel: Sala Ayutthaya hotel with river view
- Cafes and restaurants in Hua Hin: highlights and reviews
- Khao Yai restaurant, steakhouse, café and farm
- Kanom jeen: soft and tender rice noodle in Thailand
- Nam Jim Jaew: the delicious Thai dipping sauce & recipe
- Thai BBQ pork & chicken and the sauce
- Pad Kee Mao Calories & Nutrition