Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pineapple boats on parade

King Narai the Great's Royal Golden Pineapple Fried Rice (#62)

I have never seen anything like it. A group of 14 came in recently and each of them ordered the same thing, King Narai the Great's Royal Golden Pineapple Fried Rice (#62). I have never seen fourteen women so sure of anything as they were of their order. Fortunately they called in advance to let us know what they were ordering which was a very smart thing to do as we rarely have that many pineapples on hand at one time.

It was quite a sight when the wait staff walked out of the kitchen with pineapple boat after pineapple boat after pineapple boat. The staff is still talking about it. Honestly, we have have no idea what all that was about but the women left happy and left good tips so we were happy.

Pineapple boats have a very long and proud tradition in Thailand. Not just to serve fried rice in — there are also boats in the floating marketplaces filled only with pineapples.

But you can find fried rice pineapple boats everywhere, even at Ralph's Farm Market in Murrayville, Canada!

There's no reason why good food can't be fun to eat. Whether you eat by yourself or in a group, I defy anyone to eat fried rice from a pineapple boat without smiling!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Anna Anna Wake Up Anna!

Anna and some of her prikki-nu Thai chili peppers

Anna's garden is almost ready to harvest. All spring and summer the chili peppers, basil, and tomatoes have been growing. Already some of my employees are harvesting peppers to put on their lunches, but that just means the surviving peppers will get even hotter as they turn red.

If you love hot food ask for me and I will run back to the garden to get some fresh hot peppers for your meal. True Thai hot is very hot, but True Thai hot with True Thai peppers is even hotter! We are already using these peppers in Anna's hot sauce (the kind I made for the Bishop). Anna's hot sauce isn't on the tables in the condiment trays. Our policy is that the customer has to ask for it because it's too hot and we don't want anyone accidentally "ruining" their meal by making it too hot.

Some people think hot peppers are from the devil, but as a nurse I know that hot peppers are very, very good for you. The active ingredient is capsaicin which is a safe analgesic treatment for arthritis pain, painful herpes sores, diabetes, post-masectomy pain, and headaches. I even have a friend who mixes cayenne powder with vinegar to help manage her psoriasis.

Mynah birds love hot peppers. When little Anna was five years old my mom gave me a mynah bird as an alarm clock. Every morning at 5:30 a.m. Koon Tong ("Golden Warrior") would wake me up by saying Anna Anna Wake Up Anna over and over again until little Anna got out of bed. It was then my job to pick 30 prikki-nu peppers for Koon Tong, the redder the better.

Because Koon Tong ate prikki-nu hot chili peppers, little Anna learned to eat hot chili peppers. Little Anna was bigger than Koon Tong, and little Anna decided that whatever Koon Tong ate, little Anna could eat too.

Koon Tong died when I was ten. We had a ceremony and then we buried him in my front yard.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The national dish of Thailand

Either Frugal Danny or Frugal Roxanne just posted in their Frugal Danny and Roxanne's Good & Plenty Cheap Eats Restaurant Guide about True Thai's Ultimate Pad Thai (#53).
Friendly helpful and reasonable for some really tasty good Thai food - Wins awards for best thai restaurant. i think the owner was an english major - the menu has some of the best short punchy creative writing i've read this year.
They were very nice but I feel I must correct the record. No, I am not an English major! English is my second language. But I will admit that when I was putting together True Thai's menu, I did spend a lot of time consulting a thesaurus. Here is how our takeout menu describes our Ultimate Pad Thai:
Try this legendary and gloriously addictive noodle dish, and learn why it is Thailand's gift to the world.
Pad Thai on the patio

Wikipedia has a helpful description of Pad Thai:
Pad Thai (or Phad Thai, ผัดไทย, Thai style frying") is a dish of stir-fried rice noodles with eggs, fish sauce (น้ำปลา), tamarind juice, red chili pepper, plus any combination of bean sprouts, shrimp, chicken, or tofu, garnished with crushed peanuts and coriander. It is normally served with a piece of lime, the juice of which can be added along with Thai condiments. Pad Thai is one of Thailand's national dishes.
Well, since Wikipedia just told you one of our secret ingredients (tamarind sauce), I might as well let you know the other ingredient that will make your Pad Thai taste like it came from Thailand: pickled radish. Also known as pickled turnip, pickled radish is very important to good Pad Thai. When you eat Pad Thai and you bite into a tiny piece of something chewier than rice noodles but tangy? That is pickled radish.

Tamarind sauce and pickled radish make Pad Thai uniquely Thai. When you go to a mediocre Thai restaurant and you find yourself thinking, hmmm, this does not taste as good as Anna's Pad Thai, that's because cheaper restaurants often cut corners and leave out the most flavorful ingredients.

Pad Thai is the national dish of Thailand, and many people eat it for lunch every day. I know we have customers who never order anything else and there are many Thai who would agree with them.