Met my buddy Art at Sap's on Westgate for a late afternoon Sunday chowdown. We opted for the Tom Khlong Talay, the seafood-rich version of the pumped-up and robust soup. Tom khlong is similar to tom yum, except deeper and richer, with many of the aromatics (galangal, thick slices of garlic, Thai chiles) being fire-roasted. It's spicy as hell, tart, and complex. Done with shrimps, cross-hatched squid, and surimi.
We were treated to a sample of the pork, tofu, and hard-boiled egg palao (parlow) that the staff would eat the next day, in a rich broth of pork stock, soy, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorn...think of it as a porky Thai version of 5-spice broth. It definitely shows Thai adaptation of a Chinese-influenced dish. It needed to cook for hours more, to really concentrate the broth and let that flavor soak deep into the eggs, but it was fantastic in its infant stages. The pork was very tender and the tofu melted in the mouth.
A beef num tok salad was superb. Num tok (which means 'waterfall') is an Isaan salad that is tart and assertively spicy, with mint and scallion out front. Texture comes from roasted rice powder, which also thickens the dressing. Love this dish....
You can't go wrong with pork satay, marinated slices of pork that are threaded and grilled, then served with toast points, a luscious spicy peanut sauce, and ajat (sweet cucumber and shallot pickle). I never turn down a stick of grilled pig.
Pad kee mao gai, or drunken noodles with chicken, was on our table as well. In Thai, ‘pad’ means to stir-fry, and ‘kee mao’ means someone who likes to drink to excess. ‘Kee’ literally means ‘shit’, and adding ‘kee’ in front of any verb means it’s a bad habit. ‘Mao’ means drunk. So, a ‘Kee Mao’ (literally "shit drunk") is someone who has a bad habit of (over)drinking. Some say the dish is great for curing hangovers, while others say it is what's craved at the tail end of a night of drinking. Regardless, it is another Chinese-influenced dish, brought to Thailand by way of Laos. It features lots of garlic and roasted chile paste, with soy and fish sauces, and Thai basil.
Art had already ordered the Gaeng Phrik Moo: Southern Thai-style red curry amplified with jalapeños, shredded makroot, turmeric, and Thai basil. Love this curry, love very spicy things!
...waddled outta there stuffed to the gills, and very content. Again.
Mick Vann ©