why i heart ny.
sietsema never steers me wrong. (here’s one place he suggested that i’d wanted to hit up while i was in nyc for an, as usual, too-brief visit. here’s another.) this time, robert took us to thai food house, a testimony to the extraordinary diversity and quality of ethnic eateries in nyc (perhaps only LA compares, but each city has particular strengths). thai food house, despite its circumscribing and rather generic name, actually serves up a burmese/yunnanese/malaysian menu (perhaps some of the best regional chinese food i’ve had in nyc). just a small sampling of the many, many hits:
i don’t know which cuisine to credit with these little plates, as i don’t recall ever getting a panchan-like assortment of nibbles in yunnan or in any southeast asian restaurants. no matter, i am grateful. clockwise from 7 o’clock: roasted soy beans (?), pickled carrots and cukes, and something delicious i can’t recall (is that bamboo? tofu skins? i had just come from a 12-hr transatlantic journey, so i was content to just eat my face off and not think too much about what i was eating.)
one of maybe four yum-type salads we ordered. this one has deep-fried pork, i think, but i believe there was also duck and/or chicken in another. garnished with orchids and dressed in that magical sour-sweet-spicy-salty-funky way that makes southeast asian cuisine so, so good.
the chinese influence was exemplified with this noodle dish. (are these the tofu skins i’m thinking of?) i’d forgotten how fundamental those fermented pickled vegetables are (you can seem them underneath the greens and mixed in on top), adding a much-needed tangy, tongue-curling bite of acidity.
TFH does some solid curry (robert points out that this is just like the stuff you get with roti canai, though they don’t call it that). at any other place, this would be mind-blowing, but my mind was elsewhere, most likely with the pork salad. that is, everything is so damn good here, superlatives just don’t do justice.
robert’s never without a fun little surprise: these would-be crinkly freezer fries are actually a deep-fried tofu variant, made from mung beans instead of soy beans. they are addicting (which we probably have the deep-fryer to thank) but also have this unexpected texture — a silky, gelatinousness that recalls those cold jelled noodles we ate in taiwan that they cover in garlic, peanuts and soysauce. but totally different.
surprise no. 2: like something straight out of ‘alien: resurrection’, but actually a mountain of prawns. okay, more a nest of enormous prawns, covered with an incredible (as in possibly not-to-be-believed) combination of oats, sugar, sesame seeds and god knows what else. this dish has a fun kind of sandy texture and smells and tastes like some kind of cookie (i had a particular cookie in mind at the time that eludes me now). this wasn’t one of my favorites, but was definitely novel. i’d definitely make someone else get it again. how big were the prawns?
perhaps the best dish of all: coconut rice roasted in a banana leaf. yeah, maybe you’ve seen this before. but all your sripraphais and zabbs don’t hold a candle where this is concerned. i must — must — figure out how to make this. but first, how to find banana leaves in rural piedmont?
thai food house
college point blvd