OK, well I can't realllly say it's almost the best on earth. I think it is. It's too spicy for my wife, so you'll have to take my word :)
I have eaten it in many countries. The best I've ever had was in a remote, hidden, beach-side fish market near Phuket Thailand. If you know what a perfect green papaya salad should taste like, and you've seen it prepared in a traditional large wooden mortar and pestle, then you should go for it!! Here's how:
First, get a good recipe. This Christmas gift Pok Pok cookbook below, from the lovely Erickson family, is excellent. Just omit the tamarind juice and water. I substitute shredded carrot for cabbage too.
Next, you need a good mortar and pestle, either wood or stone, at least 5" in diameter.
Finally, you need to go on a scavenger hunt for all the specialized ingredients. This is the hardest part. If you live near Seattle or Portland OR, we recommend Uwagimya.
Here is my salad (with tons of spicy peppers), with marinated, roasted quail and stir-fried squash. YUM!!