Anyone have ant revs n a good papaya salad in the cities? The spicier the better....
I just had one from a stand in the Hmong Village today. My first Papaya Salad, at that. The stand offered Thai and Laos style, I went with Laos. The girl making it asked how spicy I wanted, and I smiled and asked for "American Medium". Well, this "medium" could still take the chrome off a trailer hitch. Delicious, crazy layers of flavor, but I can't eat too much at a time. I had some with a packet of stir fried noodles I picked up elsewhere in the food court for dinner tonight and it was great. Several booths offered it, I'd suggested doing a papaya salad tour of the premises. I believe the one I had was from Kad's Deli.
Just had kad's deli's version today. It was good...one of my favorites at the village but Mai's deli makes the gold standard papaya salad. please note this is based on the Thai version...I feel that the Lao version is too soupy and mushy. I prefer the sweet, salty, crunch of the Thai version.
Huge thread on this awhile back - KAPOW: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/404651
My comments from that discussion mostly hold true today, though I would add BTD and Sen Yai Sen Lek. Bangkok's is good and HOT when you ask for it that way. Sen Yai's is tame and not as fishy as I like it...but still solid.
Still, my favorite is home-made. Everything you need at United Noodle.
Sen Yai Sen Lek
2422 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418
A few weeks back, I ordered the Lao style papaya salad from Lemongrass. They can trend toward mild (unlike, say BTD or Sweet Basil), so I ordered it very spicy. Some observations.
a) It is the single spiciest thing I have eaten in Minnesota. You feel the burn instantly, and then you see spots.
b) It's quite tasty, and very complex.
c) Malbec is not at all a good pairing.
d) In my leftovers, I noticed what appeared to be crab shell and the pit of an olive. Perturbed, I called the restaurant. Apparently, this is their way of proving that the dish is authentic, as restaurants often deep-six the crab and lao olive (which is not at all an olive) to cut costs. I found that odd. Why not just list them in the menu description?
You want to pair a sweeter wine with spicy hot foods. A Spatlese or even an Auslese from Germany is what I'd drink with any spicy hot food.
The tannins in even a relatively soft red is not going to make you happy with spicy food.
Or a lighter beer. Corona or something from the tropics.
Maybe this summer we need a papaya salad chowdown. (Like the ones that were organized for ribs and tres leche cake and I don't knowwhat all else.)
There seems to be a good variety and selection around town with different styles and levels of seasoning.
We just discovered this and I'm curious to try more varieties.