Pomelo Salad is one of the most famous of all Thai salads, and a favorite among Thai food fans. Pomelo is a citrus fruit similar to grapefuit, but larger and tastes more like pink grapefruit than white. Smaller pomelos are grown in Mexico, varying in color from green to pink/coral (the larger Asian variety are also grown there). Note that grapefruit can easily be substituted for equally delicious results. This salad makes a terrific lunch, side salad, or even a beautiful starter to any Thai or Asian-style meal. You'll find it very unique and refreshing, and so will your guests.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: SERVES 6(side dish)/2-3(main)



  • 1 pomelo OR 2 pink grapefruit
  • 12-16 medium shrimp, peeled
  • 1 small to medium cucumber, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots OR purple onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil OR mint, chopped if leaves are large
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted cashews OR peanuts
  • 2 Tbsp. shredded unsweetened coconut (baking type)
  • optional: 1 red chili, minced
  • optional: handful of salad greens for serving
  • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 to 2.5 Tbsp. brown sugar, to taste
  • 1-2 tsp. Thai chili sauce, OR 1/3 to 1/2 tsp. chili flakes



  1. Set a pot of water to boil on the stove. Add shrimp and boil just a few minutes, until shrimp turns pink and plump and firm to the touch. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Place shredded coconut in a dry frying pan or wok over medium-high heat and stir until coconut turns light golden brown and fragrant. Tip coconut into a small bowl to cool and set aside.
  3. Prepare your pomelo or grapefruit, removing as much of the white peel as possible from the fruit (for preparation tips, see How to Buy & Prepare Pomelo.) Note that color of the fruit will vary from white to pink, according to the type of pomelo you have purchased. Break the fruit into bite-size pieces. You may not want to use all of the pomelo - 3 to 4 cups is a good amount. The rest can be saved for eating fresh. Set prepared pomelo in a salad bowl.
  4. Add other salad ingredients to the bowl: cucumber, red pepper, shallots, basil/mint, coriander, and fresh chili (if using).
  5. Combine all dressing ingredients together in a cup, stirring well to dissolve the sugar.
  6. To put salad together: Add shrimp to the salad bowl, then pour over the dressing. Toss well to combine. Add most of the toasted coconut and nuts, reserving a little for garnishing, then toss again. Taste-test the salad for a balance of sweet/sour/spicy/salty. Adjust to your liking, adding more sugar can be added if too sour, or more lime juice if too sweet (if using grapefuit, you'll likely have to add a little more sugar, as pomelo is naturally sweeter than grapefruit). For more depth of flavor, add a little more fish sauce. Your salad is now ready to serve. If desired, prepare individual plates with a bed of greens and then top with generous portions of the pomelo salad. Top with reserved coconut and nuts, and ENJOY!
Tips: Like most Thai salad dressings, this is an oil-free dressing, so it doesn't appear to 'cling' as well as oil-based dressings, naturally collecting at the bottom of your salad bowl. This isn't a problem - just be sure to toss a little more than you would for a regular salad in order to saturate ingredients with the dressing. And note that this salad is best eaten right away - the fresher the better. If preparing for a party, keep the dressing apart from the salad until you're ready to eat, then toss them together just before serving.