Saturday, October 20, 2007

Papaya Salad Revisited or "Look Ma, I Finished All My Chilies"

The last time I had papaya salad was at my favorite Thai restaurant, Krung Tape Thai, in Romeoville. It was so hot that I didn't even finish it - and I am very fond of my capsaicin. Fast forward to today. Becka and I decided to try out the Thai House in Bloomington. Right away, the papaya salad jumped out at me. I decided to give it a go. I asked the very kind waitress if they could make mine "as they would eat it" - meaning unabashedly spicy. It soon arrived looking and smelling terrific. Fresh, multi colored chilies were generously scattered throughout the salad and provided a nice contrast to the rather plain papaya. The capsaicin locked into my tastebuds from the very first taste. It was remarkably like the salad I had experienced a few years earlier. At one point, the cook came to the table concerned that the salad might be too spicy for me, and offered to make me another one. I lied and said that it wasn't too spicy for me, but it was obviously more than I could handle. It was perfect.

I realized that a pile of chilies was forming at the side of my plate, and decided that I had better eat them to avoid appearing foolish. Then an amazing thing happened. After stuffing my mouth with three or four small chillies, I prepared for the ever so familiar burn that would push my already burnt tongue over the edge. But it never came. And I ate every last chile in that hellacious salad. I've never experienced this kind of tolerance when dealing with capsaicin - even after competing in chile eating contests with Mexicans, flirting with habaneros, eating fiery Indian curries, and tasting pure cap. It was a milestone in my culinary masochism.

We also had Pad See Eew, Su-mai, Crab Rangoon, and Thai Eggrolls. The Pad See Eew consisted of thick rice noodles, tofu, carrots, egg, and broccoli. The dish had a great stir fried flavor, but could have used a bit more sauce. The Su-mai (steamed shrimp dumplings) were delicious, but the dipping sauce was a bit fishy for our tastes. We discovered that the papaya dressing was much better suited. The crab rangoon had very little filling without the traditional cream cheese. However, they were filled with real crab meat and were quite tasty. The chili dipping sauce was a bit ketchupy for my liking. The Thai eggrolls were a simple filling of pork and rice noodles wrapped in an incredibly flaky and crispy shell. They were served with a tangy dipping sauce topped with crushed peanuts. All in all, the meal was excellent. It set me back $26 without tip.

Also, I was so hungry that I forgot to take pictures before the meal was half devoured.


Porter Freeman said...

Now who are you, to tell me to go build an ant farm?

Ken P. said...

I find it hard to believe that there was a dish too spicey for YOU to finish.