- May 17 2014
- 1 note
Pla duk fu
The many English translations of this classic Isaan salad do literary justice to its bombastic yet balanced flavors: crispy cloud fish, fried cotton fish, exploding fish (!) and my personal favorite: deep-fried catfish fluff.
Pla means fish, duk refers to the river it swims in, and fu means fluffy. And, there is something downright ethereal about this dish where whole barbecued mud fish reduced to a fine mince meets blazingly hot oil until it magically reassembles in the pan forming a light and crispy cloud.
The fresh herbs, greens and slivers of green mango complete the culinary alchemy.
- May 3 2014
- 1 note
Laos Sandwich, Luang Prabang
A confession: I never truly dug sandwiches before I moved to SE Asia. Sure, I ate my share of PB&J as a kid, braved the queue at Katz’s a few times per year for a ‘moist’ pastrami with a Cel-Ray chaser and was mildly amused at the artisanal grilled cheese sandwich trend of late.
But truth be told, most sandwiches leave me wanting. This from a chowhound who lived two blocks down from New York’s deservedly worshipped Alidoro. Too much bread, uninspired fillings, the dreaded ‘dry bite’ when the ingredients have shifted around or fallen to the plate; so much can go wrong.
So why is it that sandwiches from this part of the world almost always get it right? The khao jie pate sandwich (literally bread with meat) is the Laotian banh mi. Or maybe it’s the Cambodian num pang?
However you want to slice it, this overstuffed post-colonial hybrid is goddamned delicious.
- Apr 6 2014
Proof that ‘fast food’ can be fresh, thoughtful and delicious, this ready made meal in a bag puts a Thai twist on a Vietnamese classic.
Gorgeous pork satay, roasted peanuts, fresh herbs, lettuce, cucumbers with chili and spicy peanut sauces on the side.
- Mar 29 2014
- 2 notes
Forgive the terrible pun, but there’s something incredibly soulful about these simple, dried-then-fried fish. While the war to crown the world’s greatest food city rages on - Singapore! Istanbul! Penang! Jakarta! Mexico City! - Bangkok easily claims the throne for best street snacks.
Savory, slightly sweet and chewy like Chinese pork jerky, these tiny guys are my favorite small bite day or night.
- Mar 16 2014
- 1 note
Chicken soup for the soulless
Imagine the Grinch before his ‘aha moment’. Hungover from too much slivovice, the twee four part harmony lilting up from Whooville have worked his last nerve. Remember, he’s still essentially heartless so platitudes and homespun homilies just make his head pound.
Enter chicken soup for the soulless; tenderly hacked up bits of flesh, bone and blood bathed in a dark roiling broth. There’s white meat too nestled against toothsome noodles, but the knuckles steal the show.
It will cure all that ails you and fill your shriveled little heart with joy.
- Feb 18 2014
- 1 note
BBQ Prawn, Yawaorat Bangkok
What is it about shrimp brains? That briny, sweet elixir of the sea gods may be the single most goddamn umami ingredient on the planet. The char of the old-school coal grill reduces us to a elemental state, primitive and savage; we rip off the heads and suck the creamy innards like cavemen.