Crispy Catfish Salad(yum pla duk foo)
This is the continuation of our weekly Friday Lunchtime Thai Menu. Every week I will be bringing you pictures of what we eat at lunchtime in the Paknam Web office. The budget for all of us is about 100 baht ($3) though I think we blew that budget this week. Everything you see here is Thai street food which surprises many people. Quite often, restaurants sell the same food, though at inflated prices. A lot of street food in Thailand is single dishes. For example, noodles, fried rice and Chinese chicken. However, most of the food that we have been buying is the kind that you share between your friends. This makes it more economical. We will try and give you some single dishes in the future.
The first one today is a favourite of mine in the local restaurants. It is a green mango salad with crispy fried cat fish. It also has peanuts, chopped red shallots and chillies on a lettuce base. The secret ingredient is the sauce and not everyone makes it the same way. A common one would be lemon juice, fish sauce and palm sugar. This dish is called "yum" in Thai which means salad. However, if they used garlic instead of shallots then it would be a "som tam" dish. This dish cost 25 baht from the night market in Paknam. It was good but I have had better.
Fried Coconut Palm shoot with Shrimp
The next one is a simple dish that uses the young coconut flesh and fries it with shrimp. The dish only cost 25 baht. So, at that price they didn't give many shrimps. So we bought some fresh shrimp ourselves and fried these up for this dish and the other one further down this page. In Thai this dish is called "pad yod mapao on kung".
Pork Belly with Five Spices and Boiled Eggs (kai pa loh)
This is a dish that you often see in food markets though in my mind it doesn't look appetizing. However, I sometimes buy it for two reasons. Firstly it is not hot and spicy and so goes well when mixing with meals that contains curry's. It also lasts several days so you don't need to eat it all in one day. There seems to be two versions. Sometimes you see them in big enamel pots with mainly pork and tofu with a few hard boiled eggs. This one is the opposite and the main ingredient is the eggs hence the alternative name "kai pa loh". The other version would be "moo pa loh". The taste of the soup is very distinctive and probably the reason that I like eating it. It is also quite nice cold. To make it, the pork is fried in golden garlic together with cilantro root and five-spice powder. Once cooked, chicken stock is then poured in and to this is added soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar. The hardboiled eggs are added last. One bag of this was only 20 baht.
Seafood Tom Yum (tom yum talay)
This is the famous hot and sour soup called "tom yum" in Thai which I have written about before. I normally eat with shrimp or chicken. But this is a seafood version which, to be honest, I am not so keen on. This dish cost less than $1 but we cheated a little and added a few of our own shrimps. You will find that although street food is often cheap, there isn't always a lot of meat. Sometimes, when we only have curry or soup left over, I will cook up some more meat the following day to add to whatever is left over.
We splashed out on dessert today though it was really worth it. This variety of sticky rice desserts was 40 baht from the market. It was topped with some coconut cream. I am sure I have talked about these deserts before in previous Thai food blogs. So, I won't go into any details now. But, I will do a special blog on Thai desserts in the near future as it is a popular subject. I just hope that I don't gain too much weight during the research! The things I have to do for thai-blogs.com! Before I forget, this meal cost a whopping 140 baht which is about $4. We will try and keep within budget next time.
Please post as comments any suggestions that you have for street food we could buy for next week's meal. If you have any questions, then please post them in our popular Thai Food Forums over at ThailandQA.com. We will be running a competition there soon to win a Thai cook book. This will be only for members so make sure you go and sign up today if you don't want to miss out on this competition.