Good Food and Meals: Dish 6

Photo: Boripat Lebel

I love eating Isan food; Northeastern Thailand cuisine. The original som tam Thai pok pok is my favorite dish; crispy green papaya strips pounded in a wooden mortar along with fresh tomatoes and yardlong beans, mixed together in a juice of lime, fish sauce and palm sugar, and then sprinkled with a handful of roasted peanuts for additional texture pizzazz. Perfection!

The Isan grilled chicken is another mouth-watering item on the table; the skin crisped over smoking charcoal ember, the meat tender, and the dipping sauce zesty hot. Also delicious is the famous Thai larb moo; made from cooked minced pork mixed with roasted ground rice and cool herbs such as mint in a spicy-sour juice. Albeit the latter dish was a little too spicy for my tastes. Nonetheless, still worth the lips and mouth afterburn.

To confirm a supposition that no doubt entered the reader’s mind upon first noticing the photo of yours truly smiling broadly on the other side of the banquet table: Indeed, I am not finishing all the plates alone, though not for a lack of trying. I came to the restaurant with a cousin who enjoys Isan food just as much as I do, and social protocol dictates that we share the meal. As a law-abiding citizen, I can adhere to that policy; as long as I get to keep the papaya salad all to myself.