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Tried and True Recipes from David Thompson's "Thai Food" #2

Thanks for the inspiration. this turned out great even though i used basmati rice because i have too much on hand and it soaked up way more water than I expected.

I also made kanom jin with fish cakes from Thai Street Food a few weeks ago. The dish didn't come together perfectly because the sauce is a little sweet and recipe didn't make enough of it, but the fish cakes were really tasty even though i just panfried them.

I finally found pulla chiles in East Boston at a grocery store down the block from Santarpio's. Andy Ricker calls for them frequently in Pok Pok, and I think they are a good approximation of what Thompson calls "Long Chilies," unhelpfully...

Also found cartons of coconut milk and kaffir limes (the fruits!) at New Phnom Penh in Lowell, so I'm excited to cook some more.

Jul 14, 2015
ian9139 in Home Cooking

Return to Cha Yen Thai Cookery

Had dinner there tonight. Food took 45 minutes (they had estimated 30 when we walked in) but everyone was very nice. The shrimp donuts (app, $5 or 6) were very good, though my friend thought they were a little undercooked. That said they weren't that warm and it was frustrating to see them sit in the pass for several minutes.

The Khao Soi was good, but I thought the soup noodles were a little firm and the crispy noodles very limp (this seems to happen everywhere though). Not as good as I've had at Pailin in LA or Uncle Boon's in NYC. I'd guess Thai North's version is better too, based on the best stuff I've had from there.

Mushroom Larb was very good, if a tad sweet. It was made with mostly button mushrooms, which is a disappointing change versus the pictures on this board.

The pad thai and the duck breast were pretty good. The duck was a little dry but the sauce was nice, but the plate was a little funny with vegetables, egg, and rice that didn't all seem to fit together. $15 is expensive for this menu, but the dish feels like something a fancier restaurant might serve.

I like but don't love this place, though I should note my friends liked it more than I did.

Jul 14, 2015
ian9139 in Greater Boston Area

Return to Cha Yen Thai Cookery

Too bad MC - I would have appreciated seeing that comment in your Improper Bostonian review.

Jun 23, 2015
ian9139 in Greater Boston Area

Want an *impressive* chinese place in flushing chinatown that caters to a wordly foodie from suburban boston…8-10ppl fri night

I meant regarding your comment: "which could be expected." Any good suggestions for the Hunan-style stinky tofu?

Interestingly, I remember it being both dryer and less stinky in Changsha / Hunan versus Taiwan, but I don't know if that is typical nor how it compares to what HK of GS serves.

Jun 23, 2015
ian9139 in Outer Boroughs

vegetarian just back from tokyo and kyoto craving everything

Just a note since this comes up when you search "Shunji for vegetarians." Shunji might have great vegetable dishes but nearly all (confirmed on the phone with them) are cooked in a dashi-based broth and thus would not be suitable for a strict vegetarian.

Tried and True Recipes from David Thompson's "Thai Food" #2


Yes I have been using cans labelled coconut cream. I'll try your suggestion next time.


May 21, 2015
ian9139 in Home Cooking

Tried and True Recipes from David Thompson's "Thai Food" #2

So I've been having some food with the book recently, including making a few noodle dishes (fried noodles w yellow bean, pad thai) the red scallop curry and, last night, the jungle curry with duck, except I made it with a vegetable stock and tofu instead of duck. The curries have both been good, but neither was as spicy or as strongly flavored as I expected, and same with a green curry I made a little while back. I was wondering if this has been anyone else's experience and if you all think my perception of what they should taste like is wrong or if I am doing something wrong in preparing them. A few things I've though might be making them taste a little timid:

1) I'm using some frozen ingredients - birds eye chillies, galangal, lemongrass.
2) I'm not sure if I'm pounding the curry as mush as I should. It takes on a sort of elastic texture towards the end but isn't completely homogenous.
3) I'm might not be cooking them long enough. The jungle curry says cook until you sneeze. I didn't sneeze and didn't trust DT that I would. I added the stock after 5-7 minutes of frying the curry in oil that had long dried up. Should I go longer? Any harm in overcooking?

Also, while I'd love to try more of the curries, the way DT makes the coconut ones with a ton of coconut cream kinda makes me feel sick. I definitely would sometimes prefer the Americanized style that is thin in coconut milk. Any thoughts on making a curry this way? Fry in oil and then add just milk?

May 10, 2015
ian9139 in Home Cooking

Return to Cha Yen Thai Cookery

Hate to be the voice of dissent but here it is: Went about two weeks ago, had the fried corn cakes, Sukothai noodles, and Massaman curry. The fried corn cakes are bland and a bit greasy - might be fine to split with 4 or 5 people but got boring very fast when just two of us were sharing them. The Massaman curry was good, but not outstanding.. i think Massaman should be a bit more heavily spiced (the dried spices) and should be a bit more oily. The Sukothai were also just ok and very sweet - maybe this is the point but they don't have the balance of my favorite Thai dishes.

That said, the meal was fine and probably the second best I've tried in Boston after S & I (very small sample size). Everyone was very nice and I'm eager to give them a second try to taste the crispy poh piah, galangal soup, and mushroom laab.

Ma Po Tofu

friends of mine from Chengdu use the thumbs up lady one... i have some packets at home that are good, but I would probably try the jar next time for convenience

Apr 08, 2015
ian9139 in Greater Boston Area

Returning to a "never again" restaurant (in my case EMP)

I've been to EMP twice in the past five years. Both visit gave me similar feelings to the one you had. On the first, we were told they would have to "ask the chef" if an hour and a half was enough time for a four or five course extended lunch menu, and given very limited substitutions options (ie plain salad only) even though we had read specifically on this board that they were very generous about that.

During the second visit, they gave us a hard time about having 3 out of 4 diners share the duck, since they request the whole table, even though the fourth was a vegetarian and they were gladly serving the duck to tables of 2 all around us. The interaction about availability and preferences on the famed block menu was non-existent - we picked courses and got approximately the same dishes as everyone else, they just weren't described on the menu itself.

If the restaurant didn't have the reputation for being so generous and accommodating, I maybe would've shrugged these things off, but nowadays I wouldn't go back nor recommend it to anyone else.

Apr 06, 2015
ian9139 in Manhattan

Go's Mart Sushi question.

Thanks both of you for the help. JL - very perceptive - she doesn't like either of those groups of fish. I was just too lazy to describe that above. On the other hand, I love the silver-skinned fish but don't get too excited about toro.

It seems like a lot of what is on the omakase menu at Shunji is not actually available on the a la carte menu and might not be offered, whereas my guess is that because Go's Mart is so small it might be a little easier to talk to the chef and try everything we'd like. Reasonable?

Jan 21, 2015
ian9139 in Los Angeles Area

Go's Mart Sushi question.

I'm going to be out in LA at the end of January and am trying to decide between Go's Mart and Shunji. I'll be dining with my girlfriend who has specific tastes (doesn't like oily fish, seaweed), so ideally we'll sit at a bar and have access to specials without ordering omakase. I'm pretty psyched about both of them but a little worried price - what do you all suggest? Another option would be the lunch special at Shunji - how do people think it compares to the more adventurous options at both?

Jan 16, 2015
ian9139 in Los Angeles Area

Want an *impressive* chinese place in flushing chinatown that caters to a wordly foodie from suburban boston…8-10ppl fri night

why did you anticipate that the stinky doufu would be bad? I love the style I tried in Changsha and would love to find something similar in flushing.

Jun 22, 2013
ian9139 in Outer Boroughs

HK student

kwun kee was awesome, went with my friend who is from tai po. Thanks for all the suggestions can't wait to try them!

HK student

I'm afraid you misunderstood my intention - I am most interested in Cantonese by far (note the contrast with Sichuan, Western) for the very reason you described. I grew up enjoying Flushing Cantonese and I'm excited to see how much better it gets here in HK.

HK student

hey i'm an exchange student studying at CUHK near Sha Tin for the term. you guys have been incredibly helpful so far in getting me interested in a ton of restaurants in hk from perusing other posts. basically i was kind of hoping for some focused rec.'s for
1) inexpensive food or at least an emphasis on value
2) more easily accessible to sha tin - i.e. tai po is great, kowloon pretty good, causeway bay not so much. it's not that i won't eat in causeway bay plenty, i'm just less likely to hop on the mtr for a meal that far away.
3) food that i can't get that much in ny - cantonese is fine in ny but i want to learn what i'm missing out on, but for instance sichuan seems pretty strong in ny (tell me if i'm wrong), not really interested in western rest. rec's (i've seen the major ones).

thank you guys so much. in return i'm planning on compiling a lot of this and other rec's into a map, hopefully it'll be helpful for others. cheers!

Tried and True Recipes from David Thompson's "Thai Food"

where are you able to buy good thai ingredients in NH? im from the upper valley and have no idea where to start looking.

Dec 11, 2011
ian9139 in Home Cooking

Was sooo looking forward to Eleven Madison Park, but...

I came across this thread while trying to decide whether to dine at eleven madison park this week, and i couldn't help but comment bc it reminds me of the reason I am hesitant to return in the first place.

Three summers ago, we had the gourmand menu (5 course tasting) at lunch and part of the reason i suggested it was the value and, additionally, the supposed flexibility of the menu for diners which I thought made it ok for the less adventurous in our group. Essentially, when one of my dining partners asked if he could sub out his first course (beets w/ goat cheese) he was given a less-than-friendly response and eventually told he could only switch to the salad. This was pretty annoying because 1) all of the appetizers were similarly priced and it didn't seem to be a cost issue 2) it prevented other diners from making one or two switches which they had probably wished to make before the unhelpful response and especially 3) bc i had read other reports on chowhound that made it seem as if swaps were not only favorably received but also somewhat commonplace on the gourmand. I understand why this is not normally the case with tasting menus but I based my recommendation of it based on the supposed higher standard of service, and I left feeling surprised and let down that what I had expected as the normal set of "rules" had not applied to us.

To me this went beyond just a service issue bc it was not a matter of a bad waiter or waitress or special attention but a simple decision that was made which allowed some to swap dishes, a privilege which was denied to us.

Sep 01, 2011
ian9139 in Manhattan

Looking for a a small intimate gem on the LES

Kuma Inn is awesome, not that quiet but certainly not loud, not trendy, fun, great food.

Jan 04, 2010
ian9139 in Manhattan

Kesté Pizza & Vino -- August 2009 report

I have had Pepe's and Keste within the past month.
Pepe's plain pie (no mozz, parmesan from the shaker) remains my gold standard, favorite pizza of all time.

They are very different pies, with the Keste crust being thinner (and a little bit floppy/watery) in the middle, and thicker and much airier around the outside.

Note: watery in the middle isn't really a bad thing, you just focus on the toppings (which are delicious) and don't really notice the crust until you work your way to the outside of the pie, where crust is king.

Pepe's crust is much denser, but both of the crusts are reasonably chewy (which for some reason I seemed to appreciate more with Pepe's) and, and this is the selling point for me, have a good amount of char/burnt spots. Yum!

I don't think you will be disappointed by Keste.

Jan 01, 2010
ian9139 in Manhattan

Moderate Priced Weekend for Foodies - Perry St., Degustation, Babbo, Momofuku Ssam Bar...

Degustation is one of my favorite restaurants. I would do that Friday and then eat at Perry Street on Sunday for lunch. They serve the brunch menu on sunday (which is basically all regular lunch dishes, you can look on their website) and it is an insanely good deal at $26 for three course.

I think Bar Rom at the Modern is sneakily very expensive, especially because it doesn't seem that you would save any money at lunch.

People say Porchetta is overrated, I'd do shake shack or pizza instead.

Dec 01, 2009
ian9139 in Manhattan

Our Annual December "Vacation"

maybe take a "mini-vacation" up to Blue Hill at Stone Barns for one of your dinners.

Otherwise, perhaps Marea or Convivio (tho some would argue that Alto is underratedly the best of these three). Also consider Ko, seems like a really special experience, and Soto if you love uni.

Nov 30, 2009
ian9139 in Manhattan

Blowfish/Fugu in NY?

I thought that when fugu flesh (the majority of what you'll eat) was prepared correctly none of the poison would remain intact, hence no tingling. Therefore, there would be no significant difference between wild and farmed except perhaps in terms of taste and perceived danger.

On the other hand, I have read that the liver, illegal but often served in Japan, will produce a small tingling sensation if prepared correctly.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

Nov 09, 2009
ian9139 in Manhattan

Kuma Inn- Amazing!!

Did you order the same dishes as me?
- I was disappointed with some (fried langostines, vegetarian dumplings) so I could understand how ordering differently could've changed how much we liked our meal.

I should also mention that asian/southeast-asian food tends to be my favorite.

Nov 07, 2009
ian9139 in Manhattan

Kuma Inn- Amazing!!

We went to Kuma Inn recently for a birthday dinner, were able to get a table for 7 the day of on a Sunday. That said, their seemed to be a long wait for walk-ins, but it kind of surprised me that they took reservations as it seems atypical for the kind of restaurant it is.

We had a wide variety of eaters, some more conservative, one vegetarian, and all were very pleased. Bill, including tax, tip, and corkage ($1 per beer, BYO) was less than $200, not bad.

We ordered: (*Favorites)

-Wasabi Pork Shumai was what you'd expect, but very good.
-The shrimp shumai, pork spring rolls, vegetarian summer rolls were surprisingly good, considering they are something I would never order. I did not like the vegetarian dumplings.
-Edamame were soft, citrusy, very good.
-Fried langostines- a bit too greasy, not great.
*-Assorted vegetable pickles- all very good, not overbearingly salty as I usually associate with pickling. Bitter melon was standout, Japanese eggplant was freaking awesome-very crunchy.
*-Adobong PAL Chicken Wings- the wings are braised and in a awesomely delicious sauce.
*-Sauteed tofu- excellent use of a soy base, as this were not too salty and the tofu soaked up the flavors really well.
*-Chinese sausage- think of roast pork in terms of sweetness, leans towards the greasy side, but overall amazing, The chili sauce it is served with is great and very spicy.
-Arroz Valencia was unexpected on the menu, but really good. At this point I was a little too full to enjoy it as much as the others.

The garlic rice is delicious and a good deal at $3 for a huge portion. However, they brought it out late which was kind of a disappointment as we couldn't dump other stuff on top of it.

Some other things i didn't taste (drunken shrimp, tuna tartare) were well liked.

I think this restaurant, at this point probably five years old, is seriously underrated. Small, open kitchen, relatively cheap, byo, delicious food, what's not to like?

It's interesting to note how dated a couple things on the menu seem (tuna tartare, shumais, in a Thai/Filipino restaurant) but if anything they will please those who have become familiar with them over the past couple years. The rest of the menu (and there is a lot to order, plus a bunch of specials which all sounded or tasted good) is inventive, exciting, and tasty.

Sorry for the long winded post, but I can't stop thinking about that meal.

Kuma Inn
113 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

Nov 06, 2009
ian9139 in Manhattan

looking for surprsing pizza

veloce for the squares is probably your best bet for something slightly different but very good.

or if your willing to drop some money, inoteca (i think) had truffle pizzas ($50) mentioned in the nyt on wednesday.

Nov 06, 2009
ian9139 in Manhattan

Blowfish/Fugu in NY?

the last time i was at Sushi Yasuda (spring), Fried Fugu (i am not sure what part) was on the appetizer special menu.

Sushi Yasuda
204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

Nov 04, 2009
ian9139 in Manhattan

Vegetarian-Friendly Asian

I am looking for a birthday dinner place for a mixed group of eaters. One vegetarian (birthday girl so we want to please her the most) who eats fish, some very adventurous (me), some in the middle.

The hard part for me is the specifics, not too expensive but relatively upscale. Saravaanas would be my choice, but too low-brow. At the other end, the good sushi places are too expensive. We don't really want Chinese food.

We currently have a resy at Hangawi, but I am worried that it will be very underwhelming esp considering the high prices. I am thinking its sister restaurant, Franchia, would be better in this regards.

Also considering Bar Bao, Tabla, outer buroughs (esp korean near flushing), Alta or Caracas (two random no-Asian options), but none of these stand out to me.

Help please!

Bar Bao
100 West 82nd Street, New York, NY 10024

12 E 32nd St Ste Frnt, New York, NY 10016

12 E 32nd St Fl 2, New York, NY 10016

Oct 31, 2009
ian9139 in Manhattan

Best Omakase in City?

I have mentioned this before, but we had a delicious meal at the sushi bar at Yasuda for $75 per person, including tax and tip. We started with the $34 set (12 pieces + half roll I think), which allows you to get up to 2 of each kind. So, for $17 each, we had our first 6 pieces, which included uni, squid legs, kuchiko (described as sea scallop guts, amazing!), and warasa (adult yellowtail).

So quite a good selection for the price; I would say we probably would have received 5 of those pieces anyway. We then proceeded to order two kinds of eel, peace passage oyster, etc. and left with room for dessert. I imagine $100 per person, even with tax and tip, will leave you very satisfied if you go this route.

Oct 14, 2009
ian9139 in Manhattan

Rhong-Tiam (formerly Penang)

Is the food really not as good for lunch?
I had the pork on fire (not on the lunch menu) a while ago and it may have not been as good as at dinner, but all I could taste was spice. I don't think it is really supposed to have nuanced flavors, at least for my non-thai taste-buds (tho this improving), so I could not tell.

Oct 06, 2009
ian9139 in Manhattan