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Papaya salad

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Anyone have ant revs n a good papaya salad in the cities? The spicier the better....

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  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: semanticantics

      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.

    2. 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.

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      Sen Yai Sen Lek
      2422 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

      1 Reply
      1. re: Foureyes137

        Sen yai's papaya salad was OK

      2. 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?

        3 Replies
        1. re: kevin47

          The Lao olive is actually a pit of a tamarind which is more prominent in Lao style as compared to Thai style papaya salad.

          1. re: kevin47

            Ethnic Laos in Isaan, Thailand, crush whole salted paddy crabs into som tom/tam bak hung. But they always asked me first, and some say the paddy crabs have parasites etc., but I don't know for sure about that.

            1. re: kevin47

              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.

            2. 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.

              1 Reply
              1. re: karykat

                totally in for that!

              2. I just adore the papaya salad at the Asian Deli. Out of this world! I got it spicy, and wow...toasted taste buds. The perspiration flowed and my state of consciousness changed with the hot, sweet, tamarind, splendidness.

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                Asian Deli
                388 Western Ave N, St Paul, MN 55103

                3 Replies
                1. re: docfood

                  Do that have it at different levels? Or do they make it to order?

                  We go to Asian Deli a good amount but have not tried this.

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                  Asian Deli
                  388 Western Ave N, St Paul, MN 55103

                  1. re: karykat

                    they make it to your specifications. Let them know what you want.

                    1. re: docfood

                      Great. Will do. They are very accommodating there and service is really good. So we will try that.

                2. Some of the best I have had in the Cities was at the International Hmong Market. Made to taste, so cute gave the woman a tip and she seemed like that never happened before. Salad and chicken with purple sticky rice was $7 and I had enough to take home

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                  International Hmong Market
                  217 Como Ave, St Paul, MN 55103