Thursday, December 23, 2010

Som Tam

AKA: "Green Papaya Salad."  Surprisingly, some of the spiciest dishes in Thailand are salads!  This one is a popular  classic with many variations.  Kids, try this @ home:  she starts by mashing up dried chillies, then adds something green, some lime, tomatoe, sugar, a small, salted blackish crab (shell and all), some pú-palá  sauce (crab paste), the ever-present fish sauce, palm oil, and the main ingredient: shredded, unripened green papaya.  She does her DJ  mashup, gives a taste to the client (who agrees it's "aroi," meaning "delicious," though it's "aloi" in slang), and then does the typical plastic-bag spinaroo - Som Tam in 2 minutes.  It's a balance of flavors, like so much Thai food, between sour (lime), spicy (chilies), salty (fish sauce), and sweet (palm sugar).  It's all pretty fascinating and hunger inducing.

I shot this right down the block from my apt where this Isaan couple (from the northeast) suddenly showed up (first time in 3 weeks) and set up an authentic little Som Tam factory right on the sidewalk that quickly became a money maker.  The sidewalk on my block is one big food bazaar anyway.

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