We are now on our 20th week of the Friday Food Blog. Incredibly, we have now introduced you to 86 different Thai dishes that are not only delicious, but also also cheap to buy on the street. The first dish today is one of my all-time favourites. It issom tam which is popular with many foreign tourists. There are quite a few different versions. My other favourite is the fruit salad version. This one is som tam tai and uses shredded green papaya. Everything is pounded togehter with a mortar and pestle. The ingredients green beans, cherry tomatoes, include garlic, red chili, palm sugar, fish sauce, lemon juice and tamarind paste. They probably also add a touch of MSG if you are not looking. This version also has dried shrimp and dry roasted peanuts which are added after the pounding. The vendor will probably inquire if you want it spicy. An easy way to explain is to say how many chillies you want. So, for three, you would say “prik sam met”. This is only 20 baht and very delicious. I could eat it every day.
The grilled chicken with sticky rice is an excellent accompaniments to many som tamdishes. There are some vendors who only sell the grilled chicken without the som tam. But the som tam vendor often has grilled chicken. Just point to the piece of chicken you want. If you ask for sticky rice too, he will ask how many bags. I usually just get one. The rice was 5 baht and the chicken 15 baht.
The other main som tam dish is som tam bpoo kem. This has salted crab instead of the dried shrimp. I don’t like this one so much but we bought it to share with you. It is much the same but he didn’t add the roasted peanuts. Our vendor comes from Isaan, in the north-east of Thailand. He usually asks if you want to add “pla rah”. This is fermented fish. This is not always a good idea or even a safe thing to do in the hot weather. But, it is a popular version eaten in Isaan and Laos. This dish was also 20 baht.
Our dessert today was Khanom A-lua. It was good but way too sweet for my liking. It is made up of a mixture of wheat flour, sugar and coconut cream. This is strained through a muslin cloth before being heated over a low heat. A box of these costs 40 baht. Less than a quarter can be seen in this picture.
Return to paknam.com next Friday to see what we will eat next!