Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Favorite Papaya Salad

Well, one of them. For now. It's from one of my favorite Asian restaurants in the Twin Cities, Cheng Heng Cambodian Restaurant, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Why is Cheng Heng one of my favorite restaurants? Because they have a good variety of food at affordable prices. Depending on what you order, the food usually tastes consistently good and the owners are very nice. They have never let me down. Actually, I have been going there ever since they opened over 10 years ago. I used to go in there and order the usual papaya salad with chicken wings and rice. I often went there to eat by myself, studying for college at times. When I moved into the suburbs and went back a few years later, the owner still recognized me and mentioned that I don't come there anymore. I was pleasantly surprised that she would remember me. I think she is good at remembering her customers. The owners and their family work so hard there. They practically live there. I feel sorry for the owner sometimes because she always looks so stressed out everytime I see her and I have heard her mentioned it a few times as well. It's because they're always so busy. I told my husband that if I ever won the lottery ;), then they would be one of the families that I would help out. Sure they have a successful restaurant, but I would help them make the restaurant look nicer and perhaps give them options so that they wouldn't have to be there day and night every day.

Anyway, back to papaya salad. Sorry, I like to ramble a lot. That's why I blog. ;) Most people that I've seen go to Cheng Heng for their combination noodle soup, but I go for their papaya salad. Yep, I love the papaya salad from Cheng Heng. 99% of the time, they have always made it consistently. It's hard for me to find consistently-good-tasting papaya salad. It has a different taste from other papaya salads out there too. They top it off with basil and mint and it really brings out a unique flavor to the papaya salad. I have ordered their salad for quite a few potlucks now and the majority of people like it. In fact, I ordered a huge batch of their papaya salad for my son's birthday party, and by the time I had any time to get food for myself, it was all gone. I was disappointed that I didn't get to eat my own food that I catered, but glad the guests liked it. :)

Everyone has their own preferences, but I would have to say this is definitely one of my favorite papaya salads for the moment. Actually, for the past decade since they opened.


  1. I have the same thought too, about buyin papaya with the same consistancy. I only go to one grocery store in Milwaukee that makes the best. Well, sometime it's not, but still better than most places.
    I hope I'll get to check this place out whenever I visit MN. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Every time I go back to Minnesota I have to have a bowl of Hmong papaya salad. No where else in other states do they make it right! One time in Texas I got desperate and ordered a papaya salad from a Thai "authentic" restaurant. Their version smelled of bait and had crab legs with the shells still on mixed in :(