Thai Cucumber Carrot Salad


This Thai Cucumber Carrot Salad is a North American version of the famous Thai salad known as Som Tai. Traditionally made with green papaya this version uses readily available cucumber and carrot. They give the salad its’ desired crunchy texture and the sauce, made with lime juice and fish sauce, makes it uniquely Thai.

Balancing Flavours The Thai Way

Thai cooking is all about the balance…sweet and sour with hot and salty. The dishes are all served together and complement each other in a harmonious layering of flavour upon flavour. Typically diners combine any of the dishes and condiments on their own plate to achieve the desired taste.

In North America we tend to increase the amount of a main dish When feeding a large crowd Thai cooks simply add more dishes increasing the possibilities for more unique flavour combinations. This Thai Cucumber Carrot Salad is a perfect example. The sharp tang of the salad provides a wonderful contrast to the richness of a creamy Thai curry. Serve it as part of any Thai meal and it shines.

Cooking with Fish Sauce or a Fish Sauce Substitute

If you enjoy Thai food you simply need to buy fish sauce. It is most often gluten free and is essential in both Thai and Vietnamese cooking. I’ve heard from people in the United States that they have seen fish sauce with added wheat so always read the label. To learn more about this essential ingredient check out this post, Gluten Free Fish Sauce.

For anyone with a fish allergy or eating a vegan diet try this recipe, Vegan Fish Sauce substitute.

Fish sauce, the essential ingredient for Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.
Fish sauce, the essential ingredient for Thai and Vietnamese cuisine -photo credit Jim Lilttle

A Thai Menu for Dinner Club

I encourage you to make this salad as a part of your next Thai meal. If you are ready to create a Thai feast I posted this menu, Gourmet Dinner Club – Thai menu, with links to all the recipes.

A green bowl filled with fiery Thai chiles, Thai One On - a menu
Gourmet Dinner Club Menu – Thai One On -photo credit Jim Little

People ask for this recipe, seriously! Let me know in the comments below if you tried it.

More Thai Recipes

A Travel Tale – Thailand

From time to time I write a travel post for my friend Sue over at Travel Tales of Life. This is the one I wrote about our trip to Thailand many years ago.

Thai Red Shrimp Curry

Thai Red Shrimp Curry
Thai Red Shrimp Curry -photo credit Jim Little

Thai Cucumber Carrot Salad

This Thai Cucumber Carrot Salad is a North American version of the famous Thai salad known as Som Tai. It's a side dish that packs a punch!
Author: Cinde Little
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: thai
Keyword: Thai Cucumber Carrot Salad
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 garlic clove, minced traditionally mashed to a paste
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Thai bird chile*, sliced and seeded (or jalapeno or serrano chile)
  • 1 long English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, coarsely shredded


  • soft-leaf lettuce for serving


  • In a bowl stir together garlic, lime juice, fish sauce sugar and chile until sugar is dissolved.
  • Add cucumber and carrot to garlic mixture. Toss well.
  • Serve as part of a Thai meal or make individual portions serving some in soft-lettuce cups.


Thai bird chiles are small and hot. They can be keep in the freezer and used frozen. Cutting larger pieces makes them easy to remove if you want less heat. Substitute jalapeno or serrano chiles if you can't find them or are worried they will be too hot.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  • Leona Hawryluk says:

    So refreshing and tasty. Will be a staple in my kitchen.

    • Cinde Little says:

      I’m glad it’s a winner for you Leona. I always say this recipe is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Refreshing year round and super simple. I’m sure you’re going to get that bottle of fish sauce today.

  • Joanne says:

    This is a great light tasting salad and is great for hot summer days. So yummy

    • Cinde Little says:

      Agreed! This is one of those recipes that is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Super simple and refreshing. I’m glad you liked it!

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