22 Apr

Ever since I was a little monster, and boy was I a monster (was / is, whatever), my mom has been making this insanely flavorful (msg), super spicy, perfectly sour papaya salad. She would bust out her giant mortar and pestle and I would hear her make it probably 5 times a week, scraping the coarse sides with a metal spoon as she sat on the ground with a towel and just pounded the shit out of it.

As you know, I went to Thailand to go to this amazing cooking school that they have across the Chao Phraya River at the Mandarin Oriental. Hotel cooking schools or classes can be really…bleh, time wasters for couples usually, but this one is 9 – 1 pm, and the instructor is just amazing. My class consisted of  5 Japanese chefs, sent by their own hotel in Japan to study and learn the flavors of Thai cuisine. A french woman, and my mom and I. There was also wonderful couple from Montana that I think will be my mom’s friends for life.

Besides learning, in a condensed experience, soooo much about Thai food, I got to have a peek at what my mom must have been like in school. She literally is so open and fun — she makes friends quickly and people want to be around her. We made kind of a complicated dessert the first day, and the odd flours and use of this fragrant cooking candle (seriously fucking amazing, will blog!!) really threw everyone off. Everyone wannnnnted to make this dish, but didn’t know where on earth they would acquire these odd ingredients. Sure enough my mom came to class the next morning with enough sticky rice flour and candles for everyone.

On these trips to Thailand, I always get to hear random stories from my dad (who is also awesome) about my mom. One of my favorite being the story when my mom was first coming to America with my dad — first time on a plane and long trip. Back in the days when a pretty tasty steak was served in coach (now I believe it is an olive and a piece of scrap metal) my dad looked over and saw my mom had finished hers quickly. She looked up and asked,”what about mushroom is there mushroom?”. My dad was like, gee that’s weird, she thinks this is like a restaurant…but he asked the flight attendant anyway. She of course said there were no mushrooms and my mom sighed heavily and sank back into her seat.

HOURS later, we’re talking many hours, my mom looked at my dad again and said “I REALLY NEED TO USE THE MUSHROOM”.

Then he got it. She had though “bathroom” was “mushroom”. She was ready to piss her pants and thought there was no bathroom on this 15 hour flight.

My mom is awesome. I can’t even put together the words to describe how awesome she is. So here she is, in a 3-part series, making her famous (in her neighborhood) papaya salad:




56 Responses to “Mom”

  1. Leah Hoeniges (@LeahHoeniges) April 22, 2012 at 1:22 am #

    This may sound like a dumb question, but do you just pick out the lime peel as you eat? Lol. Looks good nonetheless. Just wondering about that peel.

  2. Jennie April 22, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    Your mom totally reminds me of my mom =] I’ll never understand how Asian moms are so fearless with kitchen knives! Love your blog, Chrissy!

  3. MT April 22, 2012 at 1:36 am #

    your mom is gorgeous!

  4. twheetybird April 22, 2012 at 1:36 am #

    She is super cool AND my favourite salad too!!! Now I missssss my momma! oxo

  5. twheetybird April 22, 2012 at 1:48 am #

    and…………. she is so beautiful!

  6. twheetybird April 22, 2012 at 1:51 am #

    and…….funny. ok I will stop now. 😉

  7. twheetybird April 22, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    Chrissy you are your mom’s child! lol


    • E April 22, 2012 at 8:15 am #

      I was always tell people a little msg here and there never killed nobody.

  8. christina April 22, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    This is looks so refreshing…..Is the papaya an all year fruit for purchase or is this only through a seasonal year!!! I can’t wait to try it and being Asian myself, I am a need of your Mom’s cooking:)<3!!!

  9. Zeina April 22, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    Lol that mushroom story has got to be the cutest thing ever. When my dad first and to Canada and had kfc gravy, he drank it like a soup and went back and asked for the soup the next day. Wtf? But cute immigration stories aside, I am making this tonight! Looks so refreshing! Seeing as how you’re not busy planning a wedding and all, I’ll make sure to tell you how it goes 🙂

  10. Lucy D April 22, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    This is too adorable and all I want to do is cook with my mommy now, making the Christmas dinner together has to be one of the highlights of my year so much bondingg xx

  11. kacie April 22, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    I love this! “my secret ingredient….MSG” I don’t think I’ll ever be as confident as your mom while chopping a green papaya.

  12. Maddie April 22, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    YUM- looks “so delushious”… do you speak Thai too??

  13. Ron Jr April 22, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    your mom looks great! You should have got dad to make an appearance. haha. In the time that i lived with you guys I never once dared to try that hot thai stuff. I remember trying a dab of her chili paste on a steak once and about burning my tongue off. lol

  14. Heather Williams April 22, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    That was amazing, your mom melts my heart, however, I would say you shouldn’t make this yourself without parental supervision although your hospital stories are entertaining!

  15. bo April 22, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    awesome Asian moms ftw

  16. Samantha April 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Ahhhh I’ve been looking for the perfect papaya salad recipe!! Now all I gotta do is get a mortar and pestle. Does your mom have any famous curry recipes?

  17. Mark Fisher April 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this. I just discovered your blog! It combines 2 of my favorite things – food and Thailand! Makes me want to go visit again.

  18. Cynthia April 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    Your mom is so cute! And the salad looks delicious!!

  19. tj April 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    Holy Shit your mom is amazing with that knife…only in a way that Asian Moms are. Love her.

  20. Christina April 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. Looks amazing. Your mom is beautiful! Liked the dog cameo as well. =)

  21. Lorriann April 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    Your mom is such a pro with that knife! Also, your mom’s awesomeness made up for the lack of posts. (: I’m curious about the peanut version now though!

    • vilailuck April 26, 2012 at 12:24 am #

      the peanut version is u just mash the roasted peanut right after the chili and the garlic try it ok? it so good too. sorry my english is not good…:)

      • chrissyteigen April 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

        Your English is perfect, mom. Haha

  22. Trinh Nguyen (@boyhoodbravery3) April 22, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    This reminds me of my childhood when my mom and I used to make this. Although my mom used that grey stinky shrimp paste sauce instead of the dried shrimp. I love how your mom goes “it’s the best in the world and I’m the only one who can do it”

  23. Amy April 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    Oh my god that is the fattest little pug I have ever seen!

    And your mom is awesome, seriously.

  24. Bea April 22, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    i’m filipino-american and my husband is irish-american and we enjoy exploring the diverse cuisines that comes with our mixed cultures! we are big fans of you and john’s, we follow you both on twitter and read your blog regularly and enjoy it immensely. i can’t tell you how much we loved this entry on you and your mom cooking. watching your mom cook reminds me of my mom and all of my titas (‘aunties’) cook. your mom is so lovely, we look forward to trying to replicate her papaya salad!

  25. lolli April 23, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    the part about the “mushroom/bathroom” confusion? i can totally relate. my family immigrated to australia when i was 9, and i was put straight into english language classes, however all the other kids were a lot more advanced in their english levels than i was (my english was actually non-existent). one morning in class, a few weeks after i started, the teacher asked me to get up in front of the class and tell them what i had done over the weekend. I tried to say, “i spoke to my cousin on the phone for the first time since we had come to australia”, however i got the words “cousin” and “husband” mixed up. i realised my mistake as soon as the class burst out into laughter and my teacher looked at me with horror written all over her face thinking, “this 9 year old child has been married off?! what kind of weird ethnic thing is this?”. i was mortified, and refused to speak again for months.

  26. Kristina April 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    Ooooooomg funny English stories. My mom learned English in school, so other than raising me to think that it was pronounced veggie-table, she didn’t really provide all that many stories, but when I was born, her mom and dad came to visit, and during the drive back from the airport, my Opa goes, “what’s a bee-kay paht?” My dad’s all, a what? And even my mom’s like lol no idea pops what are you talking about. The next day, driving around, he’s like, “bee-kay paht! bee-kay paht!” and my parents are all wtf old person, so they look what he’s pointing at, and it’s a sign pointing out the local bike path.

    Great story, I know. You are welcome.

  27. BBB April 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    your mum is just adorable, im fearless with a knife too, is that unripe papaya?

  28. xngocx April 23, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    I really like your blog and you seem like such a nice and really down to earth person. Your mom is super cute and you can see that you guys are really close. I would love to have that kind of relationship with my daughter when she’s older — uh I’m jumping the gun a little bit since she’s only 16 months old now!

  29. beckscostello April 24, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    New Chrissy post! Yaaaaaay! Your Mom is beautiful, I can see where you get it from.

  30. The Zenscribe April 24, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    I love your mom! 🙂 Great Post!

  31. Melissa April 25, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    I almost peed my pants when your mom pulled out her “special ingredient”!!! She’s too funny!!!

  32. Cindy April 25, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    LOL I don’t think your mom has aged a day in 30 years. I swear I saw her cut her thumb off 3 times. I could never eat that with those little chili’s lol. I know what those are all about. The first thing she ever made me was her cucumber soup. Amazing! I also will never forget her mussels or garlic fried ribs… She is the best cook.

    • Ron Jr April 28, 2012 at 12:02 am #

      those ribs are the best thing ever! Her egg rolls with dipping sauce are awesome too.

      • vilailuck April 28, 2012 at 9:29 am #

        awww…. thanks ronny

    • vilailuck April 28, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      thanks cindy awww…… i’m glad u remember it. we miss u guys. I had a good time in cooking class with chrissy here in BKK made dad a curry that we learn in class today and dad just love it 🙂

  33. Sleep, Eat, Gym, Repeat. April 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Awesome post! I actually met you and your family at Freya Makris’ wedding in SF awhile back (I’m her cousin) and just wanted to let you know that you f-ing rule. I love reading your Twitter and this blog- guaranteed to make me laugh out loud. Congrats on all of your accomplishments so far, and keep on continuing to be your awesome self 🙂

  34. Eden April 27, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    moms are the best!

  35. Lauren Vargas May 3, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    Looks (thai)licious, but two questions. Where can you get that kind of bowl and what sauce did she put in? I don’t want to assume it’s soy sauce.

    • suitablegirl May 5, 2012 at 1:39 am #

      I think her Mom said it was fish sauce. As for the bowl, my parents are from India and larger Indian grocery stores sometimes have similar mortar/pestles. 🙂

    • Tan Lo May 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

      It’s fish sauce & you can buy that at the Asian grocery stores. The mortar & pestle can also be bought at Asian grocery stores.

  36. sonal May 8, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    Lol I almost peed my pants n needed th mushroom after that story!

  37. nicole May 16, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    can you mom guest blog? PLEASE?!

  38. Liz May 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    Your mom has been making this for years and she still has all her digits?

  39. Wida May 20, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    Your Thai mom sounds EXACTLY like my Thai mom. Maybe they can meet one day.

  40. Tan Lo May 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    That looks so good. Can you speak Thai? I love what your mom used. When I make Tom Som, We (Mien people) normally use the ka-piet and crab legs too!

  41. candice June 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    Can’t believe I’m just now reading/watching this one…kind of in love with your mom. Thanks for sharing!

  42. Staceyb2 July 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Beautiful woman!

  43. Caterina July 7, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    Late ! But just finding this awesome blog. Love the videos of your Mom. But that knife and her little fingers, freakin me out just a lil. :/ yikes.

  44. Trude July 26, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    Haha, I just randomly found your blog, and this post really made me giggle!
    (I was thinking about writing this post in Norwegian since I know your dad is Norwegian, but I dunno if you speak the language)


  45. Marina S December 12, 2012 at 2:32 am #

    Ahhh I love Papaya salad! Being Cambodian, Laotian & Thai, I’ve been exposed to it being made a thousand and one different ways. But I’ve never seen someone put actual cooked shrimp in! I should try it out whenever I get a mortar and pestle of my own. My mom has two, one that’s huge and made of wood(I think) and its light. But then there’s the traditional looking one that small and made of stone. Lord that thing weighs as much as a horse! Lol Thanks for posting those cute videos even though this was from months ago. Haha 😊

  46. kat April 14, 2014 at 2:53 am #

    Your mom is awesome and beautiful. I’m Thai from Korat which is one of the province in Thailand I heard another lady spoke Thai but in Korat accent, is your mom from Korat? btw I really like you and John such a great couple 🙂


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