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Fundraising Feast at Dok Bua (long.......)

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Ok all....this is my first post ever to the board, so forgive me if I make any etiquette mistakes. I also apologize to the group at the dinner last night as I can't recall all the new names I had to learn -- hopefully the participants will chime in so that I have a reminder of who all was there. I have been lurking for some months now, but last night I joined the crowd at Dok Bua because I couldn't pass up a chance to have such a great Thai dinner. Being the first of the group to arrive, I quickly positioned myself at the center of the long table. This presumptuous move by an unknown hound (ok, I admit I crowned myself with the title) garnered me the job, er...honor, of describing the experience. So now I'm at work (pretending to work), peering at a food-stained paper bag that entered Dok Bua carrying a bottle of wine, and left with my frantically scribbled notes about the event all over it.

The Dinner was well paced, at least at first, starting with Miang-Kum, which at Dok Bua is kind of like the country cousin of the version I first encountered down the road at Khao Sarn. This one in big spinach leaves, a good heap of coconut and peanut, the dried shrimp and lime, and the sweet dipping sauce whose only ingredient I was sure of was ground dried shrimp. Then Moo-Yang, like a bit of tender barbecued pork in a sweet tangy sauce. Squid salad, all nice and limey with a good (mild) kick to it and fresh mint. This was excellent. Yum Nua (grilled beef salad), a good rendition of that classic, with lots of nice lemongrass and mint. Then the funky Sub-Noa-Mai (bamboo shoot salad), smelling nicely (?) of fish sauce and fermented bamboo – I laughed to think how most of my non-chowish friends would react if this came their way! We had Larb in two versions – the chicken, which was standard, and then one with roast duck, which was outstanding, with crispy bits of skin, chewy toasted rice, and a nice afterburn. The best Tod Mun I’ve yet had, and I order this everywhere. I suspect it’s usually from some mass-producer, but these looked and tasted homemade. Great! And then another round of the bamboo shoots just to make sure we all got some! Phew, and this was only the appetizers.

I should note that the heat level was pretty tame throughout, and I kept eyeing the nice condiment tray which held, as I recall, chili’s in fish sauce, chili’s in vinegar, dried chili’s, a sambal-like sauce, and two others I can’t recall. I usually dive into these, but seemed to have no time or even idea of where to point them because of the vast quantity of food that came along.

After a short breather, the main courses. Grilled Fish (with a green sauce that looked and tasted a bit like a green tomatillo sauce – any ideas? and I think it had been wrapped in a leaf of some kind, maybe banana), Steamed Egg custard with ground pork – kind of a Thai version of Chawan Mushi – which I thought was great and the kind of homey thing one doesn’t usually get in restaurants. There were also steamed and fried fish, but I never got to those. Vegetable Red Curry, which was decent, and then a tasty Yellow Curry with chicken and mango. Fried Soft-shell Crab with another yummy dipping sauce; this was a favorite with everyone I think. Pad Kee Meow (was that what we had? Fried wide rice noddles with veggies and squid). Crispy Pork with Chinese Broccoli, which is one of those things that pork lovers drool over, the pork with three layers (skin, fat, and meat) and a bit of green to keep you healthy and offset the fattiness. I loved this too. Another crispy one – Duck, was also outstanding, and the last, probably my favorite of the main courses, Fried Catfish with kaffir lime leaves, galangal, bamboo shoots. Did we really eat all that? Yep, sure did and then some. It wasn't over yet!

Dessert....sigh. Steamed Sticky Coconut Rice with Mango, which is also a standard, and one that I love though I rarely eat desserts. Better yet, Taro Custard. With that sweet-salty-nutty flavor of taro that I can’t resist. That was great, though I admit I fairly ignored the condiment that came with it.

Ok, enough now. It seems we all had a great time – I sure did – and conversation and the beer and wine (Dok Bua is BYOB) flowed freely. I will definitely join in again, and look forward to whatever surprises come up next time. Thanks everyone, especially the organizers and the great staff at the restaurant.

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  1. Great report. It's impossible for me to pick a favorite dish because they were all so good.

    I want to thank everyone who was able to attend and make a nice donation to the site from the Boston hounds..special recognition to GG for all her help in organizing.

    to the few who RSVPed and never showed up, shame on you..there were a few on the waiting list that could have been accomodated.

    1. Well done Zatan. So that's how you got to sit in the center and I had to be at one end. Well I got the crispy whole fish at my end and I think the steamed fish was at the other end. Dok Bua has been a favorite of mine since it was a Thai grocery store with a lunch counter and a couple of tables in the front. I've never been to Thailand but this is what I imagine Thai home cooking to be. Glad that you enjoyed it.

      1. Super post! And a super meal. Watching pluziam light up when she tastes something new and admiring chowcat's happy food dance was just a small part of the fun.

        My favorites last night were the egg with pork, the duck larb, the pork with greens, and the soft shell crab.

        That place rocks. Thanks 9Lives and GG for the leg work.

        1. Zatan, excellent recap of last nights feast.
          I'm going to print it out and try to relive the experience. It truly was one of the best meals of my life. DB has been praised often by hounds whose opinions I value so I knew it was going to be pretty darn good, but my expectations were far surpassed.
          I loved everything, ok-not the bamboo shoot salad. My favorites were the fish cakes(Tod Mun)and the miang-kum, and the simple dessert of mango with coconut rice. How do they make something so basic taste so good. It was a great meal with great company.

          1. Thanks to the organizers for a great meal! This was my first visit, and the event provided a great way to try lots of different things. (and thanks for the great write-up so that I can remember what they were).

            My favorites were the squid salad (very fresh tasting and tender squid), crispy pork entree and the soft shelled crab. I'm usually a huge larb fan, but I found them to be a little on the bland side last night. the duck larb was definitely the better of the 2 though.