Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sap’s on Saturday, 6-9-2012

I was desperate for a Sap’s Fine Thai Cuisine fix after being out of the saddle for over 3 weeks, and the knee was up to a little travel, so buddy Art and I dropped in to sample some killer Thai fare. We started with a couple of crunchy Sap Rolls (S-A1), crispy, flaky fried tubes of rice paper stuffed with transparent mung bean noodles, shredded green cabbage, cloud ear fungus, and bamboo shoots, served with a sweet-sour honey plum sauce. I also added a bit of the green chile garlic sauce that comes with the Nuer Ob, which spiced it up nicely.

That got the buds going, so we next opted for Tom Khlong Gai (S-NS15), the tom yum on steroids that we love so much. We delete the noodles and get it with rice on the side instead. It starts with a rich chicken stock to which is added fire-grilled slices of galangal, shallots, and garlic, for a roasted aromatics flavor. Then it gets fresh bamboo shoots, lemongrass, makroot leaves, lime juice, and Thai basil. Right before service it gets thin slices of chicken, and the top is swirling with roasted dried Thai chiles and some cilantro. It is probably their spiciest soup, and always a tough call between it, and their superlative Tom Kha (S-P11) coconut cream-galangal, and the complex Guay Teaw Tom Yum Moo (S-NS14).

For a curry we selected the Yellow Curry with Beef, Gaeng Garee Nuea (S-P3). The word “garee” is an Indian Tamil word from which the English word “curry” is derived. Any Thai dish that has the word garee in it will contain curry powder, a Thai variant of the Indian spice blend, containing coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, red pepper, and many other dried spices, in a chicken broth with slices of tender beef, coconut milk, potato, onion, a touch of palm sugar, fish sauce, and other ingredients. It’s a great way to soothe the taste buds after the spicy soup. Bangkok, for example, has a large Indian population doing business next to Chinatown, dealing primarily in the textile trade (and the best place to eat fried curry puffs on the street). It’s easy to see how this dish was imported and then adapted by Thai cooks to make it their own.

I’m a sucker for Noodle Lord (S-G5) when it comes to noodle time. It’s an adaptation of a street food dish that uses the ingredients wrapped inside a sheet of steamed rice noodle, and rolled up like an enchilada. It then gets a topping of sweet soy, fish sauce, chile, and fried garlic, before you eat it sloppily using a bamboo skewer. I like to add ground pork, which blends perfectly with the heaping bowl full of wide, flat sen yai noodles, shitake mushroom slices, cloud ear fungus, sprouts, bamboo shoots, and fried strips of dry-spiced tofu. The bowl gets dressed with a blend of sweet soy-fish sauce-nahm prik roasted chile, and then topped with cilantro and fried garlic bits. A light toss of serranos in vinegar from the condiment rack and it’s ready to go.

We also chose Pla Sarm Rod (S-P40), which is a pound of tilapia filets lightly fried and coated with “3 flavor sauce”. When the effete TV foodies speak of “caramelized fish sauce”, this is what they are talking about, a sauce made from palm sugar and fish sauce cooked down to an almost syrup-like consistency, and the sweetness balanced perfectly with a bit of fruity, sour tamarind. It gets some braised onion slices, a dab of chile, and Thai basil. This is a fantastic, balanced dish!

We sampled all of the great ice creams (sorry, no pics as it was just a taste) they are serving now, and were blown away by all, especially the strawberry and the coconut. A much appreciated and needed Thai food fix after being cooped up from knee replacement surgery…I was jonesing BAD! I left Sap’s a very happy satiated dude.

Mick Vann ©  

1 comment:

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