Okay, I know you're tired of me blogging about my meals at Sap's, but they are just so damn good I have to. Not to brag, but I consider myself something of an expert on Thai cuisine; I've been eating it for 40 years or so, I've been cooking it for 35 years or so, and have eaten it all over Thailand on a number of visits. Sap's is directly in my path between work at UT and my house out near the Wimberley-Driftwood hills. I've known Sap since he managed the Fresh Plus Supermarket across the street from Jeffrey's and Clarksville Café (I was the chef at Clarksville for 8 years or so) back in the late 70's. He has fantastic Thai food at his restaurant, so it all fits. Plus, I blog about most restaurant meals I eat, unless it's pure subsistence-based dining, meant solely to fill the gaping maw.
Yesterday I stopped by for a late lunch/early dinner on the way home after work and was jonesing big time for some Yum Nuea, Thai Beef Salad (it being kinda humid and hot and all). So I ordered that, with double dressing, and a side of rice. Nothing is better than the leftover dressing in the bottom of the plate when it coats the fragrant rice. It's the perfect balance of tart, salty, sweet, and spicy, lightly bathing that nutty jasmine rice.
Note the double dressing, and the raft of Thai chiles floating on the top of each ramekin.....deelish!
I wanted a soupy or curry-y thing to go with, so I opted for one that I hardly ever get: S-P47, Pad Phrik Gang Moo. A very spicy red curry-based dish with pork. It was the perfect choice; I haven't had it in a while, and after having eaten it again, can't imagine why I've passed it up.
The Thai beef salad features thin slices of tender beef that are lightly braised in a rich dressing of garlic, lime, Thai chiles, fish sauce, and a bit of balancing sugar. The salad part is crispy lettuce pieces, tomato slices, and red onion rings, with a topping of cilantro. We made this salad for many years at Clarksville Cafe, so it's a dish that's near and dear. Sap's does a remarkable version.
The Pad Phrik Gang Moo is a thick curry that is loaded with chunks of piquant serrano chile (these late summer chiles start to get pretty frisky in the heat department!), in a red curry base that's cooked down with some coconut milk to add richness. Sweetness comes from palm sugar, and the aromatics include Thai basil, makroot leaf, and green peppercorn. It is complex, incendiary-ly spicy, and a bit on the sweet side, which pairs perfectly with the tender slices of pork loin. This a killer dish.
Unctuous pork bathed in a rich, very spicy curry, laced with chunks of Serrano chile...nice.
I'm patting myself on the back for picking a couple of dishes that worked together so well. My meal couldn't have been any better if I had eaten it in the Land of Smiles.
Mick Vann ©