Thai Pomelo salad with a hot, sweet & sour dressing – Plus Ate Six

Before we moved to Shanghai I just assumed that everything would be available all year round because let’s face it – it’s China right?

One thing I definitely assumed was that I would never see seasonal fruit and veg.

When it comes to my food I’m happy to be proved wrong. Right now it’s pomelo, pomegranate and mandarin season and you’ll find trucks, carts and wet markets piled high with produce.

Fresh bamboo shoots and water chestnuts are just coming in now. If you ever get the opportunity to try fresh water chestnuts do yourself a favour. Sweet and crunchy they are nothing like the funky smelling canned chestnuts we are all used to. Much like the difference between canned and fresh bamboo shoots.

Below is a stall on my favourite street in the whole of Shanghai. I’m going to have to take you there soon.

In this photo alone there’s birdcages, an air con unit, sugar canes, bamboo, a bike with a plastic bag over the seat, a green lane sign and not forgetting the underwear. Everything that is old school Shanghai.

We’ve been eating a couple of pomelos a week since early November and I’ve finally cracked the code to choosing one that doesn’t have an inch of bitter pith – I’m now weighing them in my hands just like a local and it takes at least three goes to compare the weights properly.

Either that or I’ve just got lucky the last two weeks.

If you don’t know what a pomelo is it’s a cross between a grapefruit and an orange but the size of a football. Packed full of Vitamins B & C, folic acid and potassium, the firm flesh is either yellow or ruby coloured and they taste a little bitter-sweet.

The only downside is that it takes {me, at least} about 30 minutes to peel and segment a whole one. The upside is that it’s worth it, because if you’re going to make this salad that’s all the hard work done! The rest of it will take you 10 minutes.

This Thai pomelo salad with a hot, sweet and sour dressing is the one we had with the lemongrass & tamarind osso buco a couple of weeks back. It’s the perfect foil for a rich meaty main.

We also had a version of it in Siem Reap over the weekend with prawns and pork that Rich has now requested one night for dinner this week. It would work equally well with poached chicken and prawns to make a more substantial salad. You couldn’t go wrong adding cold rice noodles into the mix too.

5.0 from 4 reviews

Spicy Thai pomelo salad with a hot, sweet & sour dressing

Prep time

Total time

A refreshing salad with a hot, sweet & sour dressing that can easily be turned into a main meal – prefect for a sharing table.


Cuisine: Thai/Asian


  • 1 pomelo, peeled and segmented
  • 3 golden shallots {or half a red onion}, very thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • coriander, mint and Thai basil leaves torn roughly {a good handful each}
  • A good handful roasted and chopped peanuts or cashews

Chilli dressing

  • 1 red birdseye chilli, coarsely chopped including seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cherry tomatoes, halved {optional, but nice}
  • 2 tsp brown sugar {or palm sugar}
  • 2.5 tbsp lime juice
  • 1.5 tbsp fish sauce


  1. For the dressing: Pound half the chilli, garlic, tomatoes and a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle to a fine paste. Add remaining ingredients and taste – it should be sweet, sour, hot & salty. Add more finely chopped chilli if necessary.
  2. Mix all the other ingredients together and stir through the dressing.
  3. Serve immediately.


Because not all chillies are created equally I find it best to start off with a little and then add more.


Do you get requests to make ‘meals out’ at home? What’s your favourite Asian-style salad?

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