Our best summer salad recipes for hot summer days – for picnics in the park, backyard barbecues, and lazy lunches at home – and sultry nights when you can’t be bothered going out, include summer salads from across the globe. We have everything from a fragrant Thai herb salad and a zingy Cambodian papaya salad to a crunchy Russian garden salad and spicy Mexican grilled corn salad.

As scorching days are predicted in parts of Australia this weekend, and it’s warmish in New Zealand and South Africa, we thought we’d share a round-up of our best summer salad recipes for our southern hemisphere readers. Whether you’re planning beachside barbecues, waterfront picnics or you’re just planning to hibernate in the cool of your home and stay very very still, we’ve got plenty of recipes for cooling summer salads for you.

Some of our best summer salad recipes are our Southeast Asian salad recipes, from a recipe for a fantastic Thai inspired fragrant green salad of aromatic herbs by chef Chalee Kader of 100 Mahaseth restaurant in Bangkok, pictured above, to our Cambodian green mango salad with smoked fish recipe. We also have summer salads from everywhere from Mexico to the Mediterranean.

Before you scroll down to browse our best summer salads, can we ask a small favour? Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve enjoyed our recipes or other content on the site, please consider supporting Grantourismo. You could buy us a coffee and we’ll use that donation to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing or donate to our epic original Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon.

Another option is to use our links to book accommodation, rent a car or campervan or motorhome, buy travel insurance, or book a tour on Klook or Get Your Guide. Or purchase something on Amazon, such as these James Beard award-winning cookbooks, cookbooks by Australian chefs, classic cookbooks for serious cooks, cookbooks for culinary travellers, travel books to inspire wanderlust, or gifts for Asian food lovers, picnic lovers and travellers who love photography. We may earn a small commission but you won’t pay extra.

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Now let’s tell you about our best summer salad recipes. Stay cool this weekend! And stay safe!

Published 22 January 2021; updated 7 January 2022

Best Summer Salad Recipes for Hot Summer Days and Sultry Nights

Our best summer salad recipes for hot summer days and sultry nights include summer salads from right around the globe.

Russian Salmon Potato Salad Recipe with Soft-Boiled Eggs

One of my favourite summer salads, my Russian salmon potato salad recipe with soft-boiled eggs, capers, gherkins and dill makes a filling salad that you can actually eat year-round. In the cool season, you can serve it with warm potatoes and seared salmon straight from the pan, while in summer it can be refrigerated for warm weather meals, such as barbecues and picnics. In summer and spring, I suggest dressing it with little else but extra virgin olive oil, quality sea salt and good ground black pepper, but in winter, I strongly recommend adding creamy mayonnaise and combining everything well. In that case, the runnier the eggs the better, but otherwise, in warm weather, soft jammy eggs are what you want. Terence has an excellent guide to boiling perfect eggs every time. This Russian salmon potato salad recipe was a bit special and generally only made appearances on holidays, such as Russian Orthodox Easter and Russian Christmas (which is today!) when baba and mum would top it with spoonfuls of Russian caviar. If you enjoy this, you’ll find more of my Russian family recipes here.

Thai Fried Egg Salad Recipe for Yam Khai Dao

This Thai fried egg salad recipe for yam khai dao is another of our best summer salad recipes. It makes an addictive salad of crispy fried eggs with sweet tomatoes, purple shallots, crunchy peanuts, fragrant coriander, Chinese celery, chillies, and a sweet and sour salad dressing. A Thai ‘yam’ or ‘yum’ is a salad comparable to a tossed salad. The Thai word ‘yam’ in fact doesn’t mean salad as such, but means to mix, toss or combine together. In contrast to a salad such as som tam, which is pounded together in a mortar and pestle, the salad ingredients are combined in a bowl and plated. This style of salad is all about the combination of textures and flavour, as much as vibrancy and aroma. The salad ingredients need to be super fresh, fragrant and vibrant and the dressing needs to be intensely flavoured, like a good dipping sauce.  ‘Khai dao’ in Thai means ‘fried egg’, but quite literally ‘star egg’, and it’s a Thai style of fried egg, which means its deep-fried or fried in a lot of oil so that the egg has a crispy texture and is brown coloured. Originally published in our series, Weekend Eggs, on quintessential eggs dishes from around the world, this is one of the best summer salads. 


Shan Tomato Salad Recipe with Shallots, Sesame and Coriander

Easily another of our best summer salad recipes, this Shan tomato salad recipe with shallots, sesame and coriander will make you a sweet tomato salad textured with crunchy purple onions, sesame seeds and crispy fried shallots and garlic, and fragrant fresh coriander. Hailing from beautiful Shan State in northeastern Myanmar – a fertile region of forested mountains, rolling hills and serene lakes – this delicious Shan tomato salad is mostly made with crunchy green tomatoes, although we’ve also had it with red tomatoes in Myanmar, and a mix of both red and green. It’s terrific with either – or both. It’s typically eaten as a refreshing accompaniment to rich curries and rice, but as far as I’m concerned it’s one of the best summer salads you can make. We adore Shan salads and Burmese salads. If you enjoy this, don’t miss our Shan vermicelli noodle salad recipe and Burmese raw cabbage salad, below. Not salad, but this Burmese street food-style fried chicken is also fantastic with this salad.


Yum Chee Fresh Herb Salad Recipe from 100 Mahaseth Bangkok

This fresh herb salad recipe makes one of the best summer salad recipes, a big fragrant bowl of Yum Chee from chef Chalee Kader’s 100 Mahaseth restaurant, a casual Isaan region-focused nose-to-tail eatery in Bangkok‘s hip Charenkroeung neighbourhood that is one of the Thai capital’s most sustainable restaurants. ‘Yum’ is a salad and ‘chee’ is herb’ in Thai and there are three key herbs in the dish: Puck Chee or coriander, Puck Chee Lao or dill, and Puck Chee Farang or Sawtooth coriander. One of my favourite summer salads, it’s akin to a European-style green salad, yet it’s distinctly Southeast Asian in its sweet and sour flavours and zesty-ness. For me, its European-ess comes from the green-ness of this green salad and lack of crunch and combination of textures typically associated with Thai salads such as som tam (the fiery Northeastern salad made with green papaya) and khao yam (a herb and rice salad from Southern Thailand with a gazillion ingredients). Of course, dill and sawtooth coriander are used in northeastern Thai cooking and the list of ingredients includes some of those you’d find in som tam, although just a tiny fraction of the chillies used in the fiery Isaan salads.


Cambodian Green Papaya Salad Recipe 

Our Cambodian green papaya salad recipe makes Bok Lahong or Nhoam Lahong, one of our best summer salad recipes. A fresh, aromatic, crunchy papaya salad that is a little funky, a little spicy, a little sour, a little salty, and a little sweet, it’s a well-balanced salad, and this is arguably what sets it apart from its bolder cousins in Laos (where pounded salads are called Tum Som), Thailand (Som Tam), and Vietnam (Gỏi Đủ Đủ), which are, respectively, a lot funkier, more fiery, and more fragrant. The green papaya salad can be both a ‘nhoam’ and a ‘bok’ in Khmer. A nhoam or gnoam is a salad made with ingredients that are cooked, such as poached chicken, wok-fried prawns, barbecued pork, etc. The other kind of salad is a p’lear, which is made with raw ingredients, such as raw beef or raw fish that are ‘cooked’ in a lime juice-based dressing in much the same way as a ceviche or eaten raw like an Italian carpaccio. ‘Bok’ and ‘pok’ are ancient Khmer words that mean to smash or beat against something, such as a pestle pounding a mortar, and you’ll need a big mortar and pestle to make this. ‘Bok’ is also the sound that’s made by the pestle hitting the mortar, as in ‘bok, bok, bok, bok’ (Thais say ‘pok, pok, pok, pok’) – and it usually applies to papaya salads, of which there are countless, as well as dips and relishes.

Thai Green Papaya Salad for a Thai Som Tam

Another of the best summer salads, this classic Thai som tam recipe makes the popular Thai green papaya salad that you’ll find made on the streets of Thailand. In fact, you’ll hear the ‘pok pok pok pok’ sound of som tam ingredients being pounded in an enormous mortar and pestle before you actually see the som tam stall.  Although Thai som tam originated in Thailand’s Isaan region, and many of you would automatically associate pounded green papaya salads with Thailand, the fiery salad is not unique to the country. Papaya salads are found right across northern Southeast Asia, from Myanmar to Vietnam, and they share more similarities than differences. You’ll also come across green papaya salads in Laos, where the Lao people call their pounded salad a tum som and it’s practically considered the national dish in Laos. The Lao people believe that tum som originated in Laos from where it travelled south to northeastern Thailand. The history is more complicated than that of course. I also provide some tips below for jazzing up a basic som tam. 

Mediterranean Inspired Cherry Tomato Salad Recipe

This easy cherry tomato salad recipe is the best tomato salad recipe ever if you want a taste of summer on the Mediterranean, and it’s another one of our best summer salad recipes. It’s super quick and easy to make – so easy that after you make this you’ll never have to look at this recipe again. The key to making this summer salad taste great is fresh, flavourful produce and top quality ingredients. In my dreams I’m using the sweetest tomatoes and crunchiest cucumbers from Lebanon, the grassiest extra virgin olive oil from Valencia, sweet red onions from Tropea, briny capers from Pantelleria, Ortiz salted anchovies from Spain, aromatic Italian basil from Liguria, and, of course, the juiciest olives from Kalamata and finest feta cheese from any village in Greece. Munching into this has me dreaming about the summer holidays we used to have on the Mediterranean, diving from rocky ledges into the turquoise waters in southern Turkey, reading in between snoozing by hotel pool overlooking colourful Positano, long sweaty late afternoon walks along the forested paths that snake around Capri.

Shan Vermicelli Salad Recipe with Sesame, Coriander and Peanuts

Another of my favourite summer salads, this Shan vermicelli salad recipe with sesame, coriander and peanuts makes a deliciously light vegetarian noodle salad from Shan State in northeastern Myanmar, but you’ll spot variations of this dry noodle dish in markets and on menus around the country. Typically eaten as a contrasting accompaniment to rich oily curries it could also be eaten as a satisfying single-bowl meal, which is how I love to eat it in summer. This Shan vermicelli salad is one of countless delicious salads and dry noodle dishes that distinguish the food of Shan State and Myanmar more generally. The many cuisines of Myanmar – Shan cuisine, Burmese cuisine, Rakhine cuisine, Kachin cuisine, Karen cuisine, and so on – boast an infinite array of salads, which are healthy, refreshing and light yet filling. Discovering them is one of the many delights of a food-focused trip to Myanmar.


Cambodian Long Bean Salad with Smoked Fish Recipe

This Cambodian long bean salad with smoked fish recipe makes bok sondek trey cha-er and for me it’s the Cambodian equivalent of a European green salad. As delicious as it is, you might not eat it on its own just as you probably wouldn’t eat a lettuce, tomato and onion salad by itself. But it’s the best accompaniment to barbecued or grilled meats or fish, a soup and steamed rice. I love this Cambodian long bean salad but unlike some of the other Cambodian salads here, such as the pork and jicama salad, which I’d happily tuck into on their own for a filling lunch or light dinner, this salad is best shared as part of a family meal, with steamed rice and perhaps a soup, a grilled fish or barbecue meats. The inclusion of ‘bok’ in the title tells you that this is another pounded or partly-pounded salad – and it should be pounded in a big wooden mortar and pestle. Don’t use a stone or granite mortar and pestle, which are best for making curry pastes and Cambodian kroeungs (herb and spice mixes), as you don’t want to completely crush everything to mush. I like to give the beans a light pound, just enough for them to break, as I still want the salad to have crunch. If you’ve never used a mortar and pestle before, we have some tips.

Thai Grilled Eggplant Salad Recipe 

Another of the best summer salads, this Thai grilled eggplant salad recipe makes a delightful salad of smoky pieces of creamy eggplant with sweet red shallots, aromatic mint, the umami of fish sauce, a sublime soft-boiled egg, and a kick of chilli. This salad is best when the eggplant is straight from the grill or barbecue, and combined with the other ingredients just before serving. Light, fragrant and flavourful, this Thai salad of smoky grilled eggplant with shallots, mint, chilli powder, and a soft-boiled egg makes a fantastic side dish, one of an array of dishes if you’re cooking up a Thai feast, or a filling main course if you add a five-minute egg and a bowl of jasmine rice, as we do. It’s another of our best summer salad recipes and comes courtesy of chef David Thompson. If you’re Australian, you may remember it from Sailor’s Thai restaurant in Sydney back in the day or Nahm restaurant in Bangkok when it was helmed by David. You might also have spotted it in his Thai Food cookbook. 

Burmese Green Mango Salad Recipe

This Burmese green mango salad recipe makes one of Southeast Asia’s best green mango salads and it;s another of the best summer salads you can make on a hot day as it’s so refreshing and zesty. Where the Thai green mango salad is notable for its spiciness, the Cambodian green mango salad for it funkiness, and the Vietnamese green mango salad for its fragrance, the Burmese green mango salad is the most balanced and textured. In northern Southeast Asia, where green mango salads can be found in every country, with variations both across the region and within provinces, cities, towns, and villages within each country, this Burmese green mango salad recipe makes one of Southeast Asia’s best green mango salads. Our Burmese green mango salad recipe is based on a salad we learnt to make in a cooking class in Myanmar and a Burmese green mango salad recipe recipe that I’ve adapted from my favourite Burmese cookbook, Mi Mi Khaing’s Cook and Entertain the Burmese Way, dating to 1978.


Classic Russian Garden Salad Recipe

My classic Russian garden salad recipe makes another of our best summer salad recipes. It’s a simple tossed green salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and onion that my baboushka served with every family meal when I was growing up in Sydney in the Seventies. The addition of fresh dill and pink radishes add fragrance and crunch, setting it apart from other classic European garden salads. As simple as the salad sounds, it was the perfect companion to heartier dishes she served, such as Russian cabbage rolls, borscht, beetroot and potato salad, and vareneki and pelmeni (Russian dumplings). My baba’s garden salad was exceptional, because most of the ingredients were just picked from papa’s backyard vegetable garden. Baba and papa had a market garden in Seven Hills when they were younger, and papa grew vegetables in their backyard at Blacktown – and also had chooks, made pickles and distilled vodka. Papa’s tomatoes were the sweetest I’ve ever tasted, his radishes the zestiest, and his cucumbers the crunchiest.

Cambodian Pork Salad Recipe with Yam Beans and Herbs

This easy Cambodian pork salad recipe with yam beans is another of our best summer salad recipes, packed with aromatic Southeast Asian herbs and peanuts, it’s a light, refreshing dish with fragrance, texture, crunch, and spicy pork flavours. Made with yam beans or jicama, it’s fantastic eaten on its own or part of a Cambodia feast. It’s not only incredibly delicious but also very healthy. Yam beans or jicama are known for their abundance of vitamins, fibre and minerals and can be eaten raw and cooked. Local cooks in Cambodia love yam beans. Yam beans are used in salads to add crunch, as well as in deep fried spring rolls. If you can’t find yam beans and still want to make this easy pork salad recipe with yam beans, jicama is very similar in taste and texture to a slightly unripe green apple – but note that you’d have to add your julienned apple to a salad at the last minute to avoid discolouration.

Mexican Grilled Corn Salad Recipe

This Mexican grilled corn salad recipe can be made from scratch or can be assembled using any leftovers from the grilled corn on the cob street food snack called elotes if you make that first. It’s easily one of our best summer salad recipes and is a terrific salad for using up corn lovers. We first began making these and other Mexican dishes after we returned to Australia following our first trip to Mexico way back in 1993, when we backpacked all over the country. In Mexico we snacked on elotes and esquites, also called elote en vaso or corn in a cup everywhere from Mexico City to Merida. When we got back home to Australia we were missing Mexico and Mexican food so much that we started having Mexican-themed dinner parties and drinks at our Sydney apartment to transport us back as much as give our friends a taste of Mexico for an evening. We do our corn on a griddle pan in the kitchen or a traditional clay brazier on the balcony here in Cambodia. You could also use an outdoor barbecue or grill or stovetop Korean BBQ grill pan. If you’re up for a full Mexican/Tex-Mex food feast, see our recipes for sopa de tortilla from San Miguel de Allende, tacos al pastor, chili con carne, easy red tomato salsa, authentic Mexican guacamole, quesadillas, and Lara’s ultimate nachos. We also have recipes for classic margaritas and micheladas, both fantastic summer drinks.

Classic Banana Flower Salad Recipe 

This recipe for a banana flower salad – also called a banana blossom salad – makes the Cambodian banana flower salad called gnoam trayong chek in Khmer, another one of our best summer salad recipes. Our banana flower salad includes shredded poached chicken but you could make a vegetarian version. It’s super-easy, you just need to work fast so your banana flower doesn’t brown. It’s a fragrant and crunchy salad that is all about the texture and aromas. This salad falls into the category of ‘gnoam’ salads here in Cambodia. A gnoam, which you’ll also spot spelt as nhoam, is a fresh salad that’s prepared with cooked ingredients, such as poached chicken in this case. The other sort of salad you’ll come across in Cambodia is called a p’lear, which features raw ingredients, such as raw fish that’s ‘cooked’ in a citrus-based dressing, like a ceviche is, or with raw beef, served like an Italian carpaccio.

Grilled Corn Salad Recipe With Lime, Chilli and Lemongrass Mayo

Inspired by the traditional Mexican grilled corn salad, above, and the corn salads of the backyard barbecues of my childhood growing up in Sydney, Australia, this grilled corn salad recipe with lime, chilli, lemongrass mayonnaise, and sourdough croutons is another one of our best summer salad recipes. The salad uses up grilled corn on the cob leftovers from your weekend barbecues (I used up the leftovers I had from this char-grilled corn with lime butter and lemongrass mayonnaise to create this recipe) and those hard sourdough bread ends you didn’t finish. Terence happened to have a crunchy end of near-stale sourdough, as, avid sourdough baker that he is, he’s pulling homemade sourdough boules out of the oven every few days (if you’re new to sourdough baking, see his excellent easy sourdough beginner’s guide), so I asked him to make some sourdough croutons and crunchy toasted sourdough crumbs, which gave this fragrant grilled corn salad fantastic texture.


Cambodian Green Mango Salad and Smoked Fish Recipe

Our green mango salad with smoked fish recipe makes Cambodia’s nhoam svay trei chhae, an aromatic salad full of texture and flavour, thanks to the raw fruit and vegetables, crispy smoked fish, dried shrimp, crunchy peanuts, and a classic Cambodian dressing of fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, birds eye chillies, and palm sugar. It’s easily another of our best summer salad recipes. As with all Cambodian and northern Southeast Asian salads in this style, always make your dressing first to let the flavours meld together. But always add the dressing last to the actual salad so it doesn’t get too wet and soggy. The smoked dried fish involves a little bit of preparation that is not difficult but it’s a bit fiddly. In Cambodia, we buy skewers of the small smoked fish that you see in the image above from the local markets. These crispy dried fish are typically small local freshwater fish called trey riel, which tend to be either baby carps or Indonesian snakehead fish, although trey slak, trey changwa mool, and trey russey are also used. They are smoked in rustic homemade wood-fire smokers in the floating villages around the Tonle Sap (Great Lake) in Cambodia, just as they have been smoked for well over a thousand years.

Russian Beet Potato Salad Recipe

This Russian beet potato salad recipe makes vinegret (ВИНЕГРЕТ in Russian), a creamy pink potato and beetroot salad that is fragrant with dill and delightfully tangy, thanks to the gherkins and capers. Based on my Baboushka’s recipe, it was a staple at family meals and holiday feasts, Sunday lunches and summer picnics. I’ve been making babouskha’s traditional Russian beet potato salad recipe for Vinegret (ВИНЕГРЕТ in Russian) for as long as I can remember, and always make it for Russian Christmas and Russian Easter when I spend some days cooking the Russian food I learnt to make in the kitchens of my mother and baboushka as a child growing up in western Sydney. There would rarely be a family meal at baba and papa’s Blacktown home without this Russian beet potato salad and my mum made it every time we had a backyard barbecue. Despite the fact I can make it in my sleep, this beetroot and potato salad turns out a little differently each time and the main difference is the colour. It could be a pale pink like the salad below or a deep dark ruby-pink in this photo. Fresh beetroots always result in a more vibrant colour than tinned beetroots. I definitely recommend the former.

Cambodian Pork Larb Recipe

Our pork larb recipe makes Cambodia’s laab sach chrouk, a stir-fried minced pork salad that’s combined with fresh fragrant herbs, infused with the delightfully funky flavour of fish sauce, dusted with toasted rice powder, and served with crunchy vegetables and steamed rice, is another of our best summer salad recipes. We’ve been cooking and eating Thai larb since the 1980s when we first began cooking and eating Thai food in Australia, but it wasn’t until we moved to Siem Reap, Cambodia, from Vietnam in 2013 that we first tasted Cambodia’s wonderful pork laab – also spelt as larb and lab here. Like the Cambodian-Chinese rice porridge called borbor, which we posted about yesterday, Cambodians have really made their take on the larb their own. It’s very much a case of ‘same same but different’ when you compare the Cambodian laab sach chrouk minced pork salad to the larb minced salads from Thailand and Laos. The differences between this pork larb recipe and other larb salads are subtle. The Thai larbs are more spicy, the Lao larbs are more earthy, and the Cambodian larbs are more fragrant. We love them all.

Tasty Thai Larb Gai Recipe

Another one of the best summer salads you can make on a scorching day, this tasty Thai larb gai recipe makes a classic spicy minced chicken salad from Thailand. Gai or kai is chicken in Thai. Laab, also written as laab, laap, larp, lap, and lab are the Thai, Lao and Khmer names for this type of minced meat salad that’s found right across northern Southeast Asia, in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar’s Shan States, and China’s southwest Yunnan. Vietnam has a similar salad but the pieces of meat are larger. It is super easy to cook, comes together in minutes, and is very versatile. This recipe is adapted from David Thompson’s Thai Street Food cookbook, and it makes a gently-spiced ground chicken salad, however, you can easily heat things up with more chillies. Made with minced chicken breast that’s quickly stir-fried in chicken stock, fish sauce, lime juice, salt, sugar, garlic, and shallots, this light Thai ground chicken salad is combined with loads of fresh fragrant herbs and sprinkled with chilli flakes and toasted rice. It’s served with crunchy vegetables such as cabbage, cucumbers, and snake beans, and eaten with steamed jasmine rice or sticky rice.


Cambodian Grilled Beef Salad Recipe 

This Cambodian grilled beef salad recipe makes nhoam sach ko, a simple but refreshing salad made with lightly grilled marinated beef, infused with fresh fragrant herbs, in a classic Cambodian dressing of lime juice, fish sauce and garlic, and it’s another of our best summer salad recipes. It’s a fantastic dish to share alongside a few other barbecue dishes, a soup and a curry or two. When it comes to beef salads in Cambodia, there are essentially two types. There is one salad where the raw beef is marinated in lime juice and herbs (lemongrass is essential for this) and served after it has been ‘cooked’ in the lime juice in the same way that a ceviche is. This kind of cold salad is called a p’lear or plea in Khmer and along with beef you’ll find fish and seafood salads made this way. The other kind of salad makes this Cambodian grilled beef salad recipe, where the meat is marinated for a short amount of time and grilled quickly over charcoal before being dressed. This kind of salad is called a nhoam or gnoam and this refers to salads where the key ingredients, such as beef, chicken, fish or seafood, are actually cooked in a wok or on a grill, before being combined with raw or lightly cooked vegetables, aromatic herbs, a dressing, and ingredients that add texture such as dried shrimp or peanuts.

Russian Potato Salad Recipe for the Olivier Salad

This Russian potato salad recipe for Olivier Salad or ensalada Rusa makes a Russian salad dating to the 1860s, when it was invented at a celebrated Moscow restaurant. Served at family meals, especially at Russian Easter and Christmas, it’s another fantastic summer salad for barbecues and picnics but is also a filling winter salad served as a side to steak, sausages or roast. My potato salad recipe makes the modern take on the Olivier salad, which was invented by the chef of a famed Moscow restaurant in the 19th century, and popularised in the 20th century during the Soviet period. The potato salad recipe would then go on to travel the world, becoming known as ensalada Rusa everywhere from Madrid to Mexico, Barcelona to Buenos Aires. The typical Soviet-era Russian potato salad ingredients list included potatoes, carrots, onion, peas, gherkins, and mayonnaise, which was ever-present. Mayonnaise was considered to be the glue that bound the Soviet states together. The Olivier salad was more luxurious, comprised of seasonal ingredients such as crayfish tails, caviar, smoked duck, veal tongue, grouse, and capers. While ingredients were diced, it didn’t contain potato.

Cambodian Cucumber Salad Recipe

This Cambodian cucumber salad recipe for nhoam trasak – also spelt gnoam trasak or gnoam tra-sakk – makes a fantastic filling salad that you can eat year-round, if you’re lucky to live in warmer climates, such as Southeast Asia, or a colossal country like Australia, where you can source cucumbers throughout the year. Traditionally shared in Cambodia, where, like most of our salads above, it’s eaten family-style with rice, and perhaps an array of other dishes, you could also serve this as a satisfying single-bowl meal for lunch or dinner. cucumbers are fantastic in summer salads. Keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to use them and thanks to their high water content, they remain crunchy and cold for quite a while. Hence the expression “cool as a cucumber”. The addition of fried bacon, smoked dried fish and dried shrimp are what make this salad more filling and a great year-round salad for me. This is a classic Cambodian cucumber salad, yet you’ll find countless variations in Cambodia, so do feel free to tweak this – just as Cambodians do. It’s easily another of the best summer salad recipes for this scorching heat.

Thai Corn Salad Recipe

Another one of the best summer salads, this easy Thai corn salad recipe makes a fantastic filling salad that is the perfect light summer lunch or an ideal side for dinner when paired with spicy Thai fried chicken. Our recipe makes a simple tossed salad that’s based on a popular Bangkok som tam style pounded salad. Summer for me means corn season and time to binge on my favourite Southeast Asian and Mexican corn dishes made with locally-grown seasonal corn. Our easy Thai corn salad recipe makes fantastic use of our seasonal corn here in Cambodia, making a light yet filling salad that is ideal for a summer lunch in between swims. It’s also terrific for a casual dinner as a side dish for spicy Thai-style fried chicken.

Burmese Raw Cabbage Salad Recipe

Another of the best summer salad recipes, this easy Burmese raw cabbage salad recipe makes a refreshing salad that is delightfully crunchy and slightly tangy, the perfect contrast to rich oily Burmese curries. Often called ‘Burmese coleslaw’ it makes a fantastic side salad for a roast chicken for a picnic basket. Mostly made with white cabbage, for colour we’ve used purple cabbage or red cabbage, which is incredibly healthy. Raw cabbage is low in calories, high in fibre, and packed with vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin K (for bone health and blood clotting), Vitamin C (boosts immune system, helps iron absorption), Vitamin B6 and folate (good for metabolism and nervous system), and calcium, potassium, and magnesium (great for the heart, gut health and digestion). Like other red and purple vegetables, fruits and grains, they’re loaded with anthocyanins, a pigment that boasts high levels of antioxidants, which fight cancers and diseases. I’ve adapted this Burmese raw cabbage salad recipe from cookbook author Mi Mi Khaing’s wonderful Cook and Entertain the Burmese Way (1978).

Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe

Not strictly a salad, more like mini hand-held salads, these spicy chicken lettuce wraps are our Southeast Asian take on the Chinese lettuce cups from Southern China and Hong Kong, popularised in Chinese-Australian restaurants in the 1970s. Our minced chicken lettuce cups take inspiration from northern Southeast Asia, from both savoury larbs (minced meat salads; see above) and the local custom of wrapping street food snacks in lettuce. Lettuce wraps or lettuce cups are thought to have originated in Southern China, the world’s largest lettuce producer, and Hong Kong, where they’re called ‘san choi bao’, which means ‘lettuce wraps’ or ‘lettuce packets’, and are a Cantonese dish. In Hong Kong, lettuce wraps typically came with minced pigeon, according to restaurateur Mathew Chan of Peacock Gardens Restaurant in Sydney, who claims to have brought ‘sang choy bow’ to Australia in the 1970s, but opted for pork, beef or chicken mince instead, as pigeon meat wasn’t used much in Australia at the time. (My dad called pigeons ‘flying rats’ back in the Seventies, which I believe was a widely held view in Australia at the time.)

Cambodian Pomelo Salad with Prawns Recipe

We’ve presented this Cambodian pomelo salad with prawns in a more modern presentation, below, but you can follow the recipe and serve it in a more traditional style in a salad bowl for sharing. It’s another of the best summer salads for a sweltering day and has been a favourite salad since we moved to Cambodia. It’s also a breeze to make. Salads are almost always a component of a Cambodian meal and this Cambodian pomelo salad with prawns recipe has the fresh, clean flavours you want to accompany a stir-fry, soup, stew or curry. Sometimes served with pork, this version uses large, fresh shrimps for protein. This recipe uses dried shrimp. In Cambodia, dried shrimp is a serious business. In Siem Reap, the stands that sell the shrimp at Old Market have regular customers who take time to inspect the different grades and sizes before making a purchase. While you can buy dried shrimp in the local supermarkets, the stalls at Old Market offer far superior quality and are the place to make a purchase. The pomelo is the largest citrus fruit here and is native to South-East Asia. Similar to grapefruit (which can be used as a substitute in this recipe), it’s less sour and is often a lot more firm.


Do let us know if you make any of our best summer salad recipes in the comments below, by email or tag us on social media if you share them. We’d love to know how they turn out for you.

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