After more than a year of closing its doors, the Papaya Lady will return to a new location on 16th Street in Merced.

Merced resident Somchanh Thongsavat, also known as the Papaya Lady, came to America by being sponsored by a Minnesota church family as a refugee in 1983, according to her son Adam Thongsavat.

Adam told Merced Daily that his mother’s first job in America was cleaning toilets and his father’s first job was washing dishes at Pizza Hut.

Adam says his family moved to Texas for job opportunities before settling in California in 1985.

Somchanh opened her business, the Papaya Lady, in the early 90’s inside a local market. Adam told Merced daily all of his mother’s cooking is pretty much self-taught.

Customers can expect a majority of the items to be anywhere between $4 -$10.

The Papaya Lady will be located at 45 E. 16th Street inside Carniceria Los 3 Toros.

The grand opening will be on Saturday, June 26th from 11:30am-7pm, Monday through Sunday.


Papaya Salad

Papaya Salad


Khao Poon (Curry Noodle Soup w/Chicken)


Nam Khao (Crispy Rice Salad)



Nam Vanh (Tapioca) a crowd favorite, especially during summer time!


Red Curry w/ Chicken