Krua Thai - please help decipher this dish
I used to post as Sasha but someone else took my name first, so now I'm Sasha1.
In any case, we took our maiden trip to Krua this weekend. All in all, I'm not sure I liked it terribly much. I had high hopes, but I found the noodles (pad thai krua thai) to be (1) low on noodles, (2) too much dried shrimp (which also negatively impacted the green papaya salad imo), and (3) too sweet. The green papaya salad was ok but not nearly as good as wat thai.
What I would love your help with is an appetizer we ordered - thai sausage. I thought it would be prepared somehow, but it was just presented cold and sliced (think hilshire farms already cooked but not warmed through as best approx of serving method, although not taste), on a plate with some roasted peanuts, several whole scallions (roots off), many large slices of fresh ginger, and one or two lettuce leaves. We could not figure out how to put this together, and just ended up picking at the sausage and peanuts. I couldn't help feeling like there was a roll or pancake or wrap missing. We aren't accustomed to just grabbing a big hunk of raw ginger or scallion and chomping down. How does one eat this? There was not enough lettuce to make wraps, and I don't think it was intended as such.
In any case, I'm not sure I'll be returning, unless the rest of their noodles (generally a favorite dish) do not resemble the pad thai. Another detractor was the dirtyness of the place. I am not a stickler for As by any means, but it was just unpleasant. The table was not thoroughly wiped off, the menus had food on them and were sticky and wet, and the floor was really dirty and scuzzy, with lint, hair, and who knows what else, right under our feet, like they might mop once a week at best. Reminded me a bit of the fraternities I frequented in college.
On a bright note, their palm juice was great, sweet, subtle, kind of nutty, and cold. And we stopped at the temple on the way home for some kanom krok and mango rice. Yummy!
Sounds like you are talking about sai krok issan, which I also ate at Krua Thai about 3 weeks ago. It's just called "sausage" or something in the English menu, but the full name is written in Thai. I didn't think it was a particularly good version -- I think it should be more sour -- but then, it's not a precise taste. But the accompaniments were the same as what I always got with it at markets in northern Thailand -- ginger, peanuts, chilies, and if memory serves, maybe cabbage to wrap it in, maybe not (I have a memory of sitting on a curb in Nan eating sausage with my fingers). I have served it at parties as a DIY appetizer with lettuce wraps, since it makes it easier to eat. So I just wrapped it in the lettuce at Krua, or stacked it -- ginger base, sausage slice, peanuts on top -- and popped it into the mouth. Krua's ginger slices were thicker than they should have been for the dish.
"The green papaya salad was ok but not nearly as good as wat thai."
This is to be expected. At Wat Thai, the food is presented in true Thai style, individual vendors preparing the dishes they prepare best. Even most "full menu" Thai eateries are typically known for one or two dishes. The problem is knowing which dishes!
I believe the appetizer might be considered "nam nueng", although it would typically come with a sort of very thin "crepe" in which to wrap all the stuff up. It might just be easier/cheaper for them to send it out sans wrapper.
The "sour" is often not from the ingredients themselves, but from the fermentation of the ingredients.
I'm not sure the type of sausage. It was not particularly flavorful, and was served on the cold side of room temperature. Btw, the ginger was about 1/4 thick slices. Quite a spicy mouthful. In any case, please try and report back. I'm curious to hear your opinions of the place.
I don't recall eating much sausage in Thailand, although this was many years ago and my chowhound tendencies were not as fully developed as currently. Did eat the grilled sausage on a stick at wat thai and it was very tasty. But the one at Krua still puzzles me. I'm all about a bite of sausage and a bite of veggie, except one doesn't normally take a big bite (nor would you want to) of raw scallion or ginger. And the sausage didn't have enough flavor to carry it, without some sort of dipping sauce, wrapping vehicle, etc. Maybe it's me, maybe it is an appetizer that has simplicity going for it that I have not sufficient appreciation for, but I just didn't like it.
woops i sort of mispoke. i meant to say that the bbq stand is a super popular street food, of which, the sausage is often a vital component.
in northern china, people grab whole raw cloves of garlic and eat them with their bowl of noodles. i eat tons of raw thinly sliced ginger with my dumplings. i guess its a cultural thing. i like taking large bites of raw ginger and spring onions too! i too like the wat thai sausage on a stick. im curious what kind of sausage was served at krua thai.
there are many types of thai sausages. some are cured with a slightly sour taste. there is heavy use of galangal, lime juice/kaffir lime leaves, garlic, lemon grass and shrimp paste as part of its flavor profile. sometimes its grilled on a bbq or just served room temperature
this is a very common street food, if not the most common type of street food you'll see in thailand/bangkok. its mostly people from northeastern thailand known as esarn or issan. essentially they are lao people. you will see grills on the street with pork, or chicken parts or these sausages. you just point at what you want and they heat it up for you, put it in a plastic bag with another bag with a wedge of cabbage (never lettuce, so it was probably intended as garnish), golfball sized thai eggplants and raw slices of garlic, chilis and whatever else you want. and you literally alternate bites of meat with raw veggies. its quite healthy and quite delicious.
in thailand, everyone likes their som tam (papaya salads) different, and the lady making it will often let you taste it while shes preparing it so you can add more heat or sugar or fish sauce.
i've not been to krua thai but am still interested in trying it.