Stopped by Sap's on the way home from work on Wednesday and had a great combo that exhibited true "sum rap Thai". Literally the term refers to a set of Thai dishes, but figuratively it refers to a matching of dishes that compliment each other very well. As I waited for the dishes to appear, I got lost in the wonderful ceiling treatment at Sap's, a hodge-podge of hanging, hand-painted Thai umbrellas, made from mulberry leaf paper stretched over a bamboo frame.
First to arrive was the Tom Klong Gai, a relative of the much more famous Tom Yum, but the sourness here is boosted by tamarind, and all of the aromatics are fire-roasted, giving the broth a pleasing bitter element in the profile, to go with the charred Thai chiles, and the numerous and delightful slices of garlic. Spicy, sour, salty, bitter, and rich as can be from a very worthy chicken stock. Normally it comes with your choice of noodles, but I omit those and opt for rice on the side. LOVE this soup!
Shortly after came the plate of Moo Ping, what is a well-loved pork skewer street food dish in Thailand, transformed here into a tender, rich, sweet-salty grilled pork dish with a robust dipping sauce. The marinade has coconut milk, fish sauce, lots of garlic, palm sugar, and white peppercorn, then it gets grilled, and then you dip each bite into a rich, spicy, dark sauce of fresh chile paste, palm sugar, cilantro, fish sauce, tamarind, and maybe a bit of dark soy (?). The combination of flavors is exquisite.
....sum rap Thai, in this case, a sour light soup paired with a sweet and spicy grill, all tied together with jasmine rice. A great pairing.
mick vann ©