This is now our third week of the Friday Lunchtime Thai Menu blog. Every Friday, we will be bringing you pictures of our meal in the Paknam Web office. The first dish was tom yum gai. This is a hot and sour soup with chicken. The famous one is with shrimp which I often order when taking guests to restaurants. The recipe is also similar to another of my favourite soups, tom kha gai. Though the one today doesn’t have any galangal (kha). Basically, you bring some chicken stock to the boil and add lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves. Then add the chicken and mushrooms. You season to taste with fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. At the end, add cherry tomatoes and the chilies. When you order tom yum at restaurants, you need to say what kind you want. The choice is either “nam sai” which is transparent soup or “nam kon” which is thick soup. I prefer the latter because they add coconut milk to thicken the soup. That is the version we had today. Very delicious and one of my favourites.
This next one is really an appetizer as it doesn’t cost that much. The dip you can see is one of my favourites. It is hot and sweet and is the same one we use for fried chicken. There are so many dips (nam jim) that you have to be careful that you use the right one. The spring rolls we ate today had minced pork, shredded cabbage, shredded carrot, mushroom and mun bean noodle (woon sen).
Our dessert today was sticky rice flour with shredded coconut. It is sweet as it has palm sugar and caramel. The topping is popped rice.
Som Tam Fruit Salad (som tam polamai)
I have saved the best for last. Off all the varieties of som tam, this is most definitely my favourite after som tam tai. Most som tam stalls will make this for you as long as they have fruit. Actually, I am not sure why they call it “tam” as it is not pounded in the bowl like its cousin. Anyway, this one contains apple, guava, rose apple, shredded unripe mango, shredded carrot and cherry tomato. And whole roasted peanuts. When you do takeaway, they put the fruit in one bag and the sauce in another. Then you just mix together when ready. It is more expensive than the regular som tam but well worth it. The sauce was very sweet but sour at the same time. It contains, water, sugar, lime, salt, garlic and chili. Normally I find one chili is enough for fruit salad. This sauce also had some dried shrimp. I love this very much. It can be a meal in itself. You can either eat it by itself or with sticky rice.
If you are in Paknam, go to “Som Tam Dontree”. They have two branches. One opposite the courthouse and the other on Sailuad Road near Krungthep Bank. Both are very large shops with several floors. They are good for variety. However, I like my som tam seller at the top of my soi for eating som tam thai. We have three sellers in our soi but he is the best.