July 9, 2004

new favorites

Thursday, July 8

He had been talking about going out for Thai food ever since we came back in town. Whether his desire had reached its threshold or he just got an unexpected income or whatever, he insisted that we should better do it today. So we did.

There are surprisingly many Thai restaurants in our town, considering its small population - there are at least five or six of them, as far as I am aware. Yet I am not completely satisfied with the general standard of Thai food - or at least Thai curries - in this country, let alone this small town. Among them, however, there is one pretty good Thai restaurant here, which we found ourselves keep going back. There we'd go straight to curries - red, green, yellow, or Musaman - their curries are fabulous; not too coconut milk-y, which could ruin the whole thing, and properly spicy (they even do "Thai hot" on top of the usual choice of mild/medium/hot). We have tried some other dishes, and most of them were pretty good, but whenever we think of going to that restaurant, we have a craving for their curries.

But not today. At least I wasn't really feeling like eating curries since I was a bit sick. So I tried to think of something else that I could have there, and suddenly an idea popped up; salad. When we went to a Thai restaurant in Boulder, CO, his brother's wife had a salad dish and I really liked it. It was basically a mixture of cooked ground chicken with some vegetable such as onion and cucumber, dressed with lime juice and other sauces, spiced up with herbs and chili pepper. It was really hot but truly refreshing, and I even liked her salad better than my own bowl of curry. The problem was, I didn't know the name of the dish (how dare!). But as far as I can tell, there are a lot of dishes commonly served at a lot of Thai restaurants over here, and I was also sure that I had seen something like that salad previously. So I was pretty sure that they'd have the (similar) salad at our favorite local Thai place... I browsed the menu... not papaya salad, not shrimp salad either... okay, maybe this; then I ordered a dish called "Larb Salad".

When my salad came, I was so pleased to find that my guess was right (I learned later when I was back home, larb refers to ground-meat salad in Thai, thus chicken larb would be called larb gai). Even more delightfully, their ground-chicken salad tasted better than the one I had before; it had a lot more vegetable of other kinds and was soaked in a similar lime-y, minty, and refreshing dressing. And very HOT (I ordered medium hot today - well salads are usually hotter than other dishes in Thai cuisine, in my understanding). I would have liked it even more if there had not been coriander leaves in there (did I ever mention that I hate coriander leaves?), but it was still okay.

I was so full but did not forget about the dessert. There was a choice of several flavors of ice cream, but my heart was taken by "ginger". The menu read that ice cream is served with tapioca pudding and fresh strawberries, and it was true - except, or to me at least, it was actually tapioca pearls in sweet coconut milk that was in my glass (I didn't know they call those tapioca "pudding" here). My ice cream came in a tall glass, covered with the coconut milk and tapioca which was almost fladding out of the glass, and sliced strawberries prettily arranged on top. With the first spoonful of tapioca in the milk, I already tasted ginger there... although our all-time favorite dessert at a Thai restaurant would be coconut milk ice cream, the ginger ice cream in coconut milk came very close to that perfection, I have to tell you. Next time we come back here (which shouldn't be in the distant future, I believe), we will confront a new challenge; curry or salad, or both.


Santos said...

ohhhh. ginger ice cream with tapioca and strawberries, now why didn't i think of that?! is the ice cream made with milk milk or coconut milk? i would think the strawberries and tapioca would be nice on top of matcha ice cream too....

chika said...

Hello again,
I guess the ice cream was made using cow milk from the fridge, not from coconuts, although that sounds terrific, as well.... And in fact, they did have green tea among the choice of flavors of ice cream :-) I bet that'd be yummy, too!