Posted 27 September 2004 - 07:07 PM
And, I must confess. I have not read any of your books, but have reserved all of them that my library system has. As the days chill and gardening wanes, you will be my companion.
As a bit of introduction, I grew up in Thailand, having lived there from 1966 to 1975. I fell in love with Thai food on the day after we arrived; by 9th birthday. My introduction to raw pork larb, curry, noodles, and those wonderful fish dishes.
Further, I happen to be lucky enough to live in the Twin Cities area, which has a huge Hmong population, who all came here through Thailand. Thus, there are a lot of Thai restaurants in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I have eaten at many. I have also eaten at a few in the Berkeley area.
I love Thai food, and loved it best at the markets, off the noodle wagons or in those little holes in the wall.
Any idea why Thai restaurants in the U. S. seem to rely on the same "standard" dishes? The pad thai, rarely done well. Currys. Tom Yam. A few stir fried dishes. Appetizes that are tired. I never see those wonderful deep-fried radish "appetizers." A very distinct lack of condiments that adorned the table at every Thai restaurant, be it an air-conditioned joint or a noodle wagon. Too much sugar, too much reliance on peanuts, too little basil, too little fish sauce. I have yet to see kanom krok on a single menu. As I peer into many of these kitchens (with a couple of exceptions), I see can after can after can of Maesri curry paste. The ingredients are available here.
The best Thai food I get is at the deli counters at the local Asian markets (here, and Asian market is very heavy on the Thai and extremely light on the Chinese and Japanese), where some grandma of the owner is making things that hold well, like larb, som tam, etc.
Thai food can be, but does not necessarily have to be, blastingly hot.
Posted 28 September 2004 - 07:04 AM