People's Palace-Inspired Pomelo Salad with Chicken & Shrimp

Inspired by People's Palace! Poached chicken and shrimp makes this Thai pomelo salad heartier; a lime-coconut milk dressing brightens it all up.
3–4 servings
Prep Time
30 Mins
Active Time
35 Mins

Juicy pomelo segments form the heart of yum som-o (ยำส้มโอ), or Thai pomelo salad. At People’s Palace, considered to be one of the best Thai restaurants in Manila, their pomelo salad has shrimp and chicken. Fresh herbs and crunchy mix-ins keep things exciting. A dressing of coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar brings it all together in a sweet, bright, tangy revelation. Serve it as an appetizer, or promote it to a main course for a cool, refreshing meal.

What goes into a typical Thai pomelo salad?

  • Pomelo: The star of the show! The pomelo adds sweetness and a juicy crunch to the salad.
  • Herbs and aromatics: Mint, cilantro, makrut lime leaves, and lemongrass add freshness and depth of flavor.
  • Crunchy toppings: Roasted peanuts, fried shallots, and toasted coconut add textural contrast, making the salad fun to eat.
  • Bright dressing: A sweet, sour, sometimes spicy dressing made with fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, and chilies (if desired!) ties everything together.

Taking cues from People’s Palace, this Thai pomelo salad has the unconventional addition of poached shrimp and chicken. We skip the chilies in the dressing, but if you like some heat, go ahead and throw some in.

How to prepare pomelo

First-timers: Don’t be intimidated! You can think of the pomelo as an oversized orange with a thicker rind. To prepare a pomelo, you’ll need a sharp knife and a chopping board.

  1. Slice off the ends. Use your knife to slice off about 1 inch from the top and bottom, right around where the pith meets the pink flesh. The flat surface will also make for easier cutting.
  2. Score the rind. Stand the pomelo on its flat bottom. Make four cuts into the pomelo’s rind, from top to bottom and at equal distances, following the natural curve of the fruit. Make sure you cut all the way through the rind, but don’t go too deep and pierce the flesh!
  3. Peel away the rind. Pry the scored rind away from the flesh, and discard.
  4. Remove white pith. See the white layer between the rind and the flesh? That’s the pith, which can taste very bitter. Use your knife to carefully cut away any excess pith; it’s fine if you don’t get it all.
  5. Separate pomelo segments. Use your hands or a paring knife to break the pomelo apart. Remove or cut away the paper-like membranes around each segment, keeping your pomelo pieces as intact as possible.

Your pomelo segments should keep in the fridge, inside an airtight container, for about 3–4 days.

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