Homeboy Art and I decided to visit Sap's one last time before I have to get my left knee replaced, so yesterday we went in to sample a couple of items off of the new menu additions. When I went in Sap's sis Prawnee was there, and offered me a taste of her Nam Prik Gapi, a dipping sauce made with fermented shrimp paste made from tiny tidal krill and sea salt. The sauce also has garlic, shallot, chiles, palm sugar, lime, and a little fish sauce. This is old-school Thai cuisine, perhaps a bit too funky for most American appetites. You normally eat this with a bit of Thai omelet, platuu (small mackerel, usually fried or smoked), crudites of cucumber and Thai "apple" eggplant (the small, round green and white striped ones), and bunches of neem tree tips and blossoms (yod sadao), which are amazingly bitter. This is pure comfort food for any Thai native, so we ordered a Thai omelet to go with her nam prik gapi, and the combination of flavors was superb. It took me back to Thailand with just one bite.
Next came Red Curry with Pineapple (S-P5, Gaeng Kua Supparod), except that we got it with pork instead of the usual shrimp. Many restaurants pair this with duck meat, but pork is a really good match for the spice and sweetness, and when you add a little heat and just a kiss of fish sauce, the taste of the curry explodes, while the pineapple lurks quietly but assertively in the background. Fantastic.
Next up, the new ribs dish,S-P53, Cie Khrong Moo Ob. I said before that these were the best ribs I have ever eaten that weren't barbecued, and I heartily stand by that statement. The riblets are swimming in a dark, aromatic sauce that is perfectly balanced, made from onions, tomatoes, garlic, black pepper, and palm sugar. Sounds simple, tastes incredibly complex.
We finished up with S-A12, Gai Yang Sum Tom. Sap marinates the legs and wings in a mix of cilantro root, garlic, turmeric, and a host of other things and grills the chicken. It gets served with a lettuce salad, son tom shredded papaya salad, a monkey dish of sweet chile garlic sauce, and a packet of sticky rice. This is some tasty grilled chicken...very tasty.
Okay, after that delicious meal, I'm ready for some knee surgery and torturous rehab. Bring it on!
Mick Vann ©