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What dish am I craving during this heat wave?


My wife and I were planning to go to a local upscale Italian place in Chapel Hill over the weekend. It was one of the few high end restaurants we hadn't tried in our 9 years in this area. The closer the day became the more we didn't want to go (We went and had an excellent meal.). With the recent heat wave, we just didn't feel like pasta was going to be the right fit. We couldn't verbalize what would be the right dish, so I thought I would seek guidance from the hive mind. In the heat, we wanted a light, bright dish, spicy from Jalapenos and/or other peppers, perhaps some Sichuan peppercorns, could be served hot or cold. There's a restaurant on Maui that does an interesting riff on Thai Green Papaya salad that comes to mind. Salt and pepper shrimp also comes to mind.

Any other thoughts on dishes that meet the above criteria?

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  1. How about other Issan-style salads, like various versions of larb? Cold noodles from Sichuan (liang2 mian4) or Korea (nyang myun), both spicy in their own way, might be options if you don't want to rule out all pasta-like dishes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: limster

      I LOVE mool naengmyun on a hot day...

    2. Tandoori shrimp and mango salad is a dish I make frequently when the weather is like this. I can do the prep the night before and then have it on the table with little effort the next night, The flavors are fresh and zingy, spicy yet cooling.


      1. When it's really hot we have always liked the cold Middle Eastern dishes like tabbouleh, baba ganooj, hummos, fatoosh, stuffed vine leaves, cucumbers in yogurt with mint, white bean salad, sliced tomatoes with Greek olives, etc. If you make one you may as well make several at the same time---they keep in the fridge for a week so you can fix a plate at any time.

        1. Green papaya salad actually sounds perfect in the heat. I'm also partial to ceviche when it's really hot-citrusy and spicy tends to hit the spot. Also gazpacho, and maybe caprese-that's not one I'm always willing to pay for, but it is definitely satisfying and summery. I would be perfectly happy to eat caprese and bread for dinner on a hot evening, but that may not be what you're seeking at a high-end restaurant.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ErnieD

            in my book Caprese is the ID of a food for a hot summer day (but gotta use enough basil and mozz)

            otherwise I dunno an iced IV feeding tube?

          2. Cold Soba noodles in freezing chilled broth.

            Their constituent, buckwheat,
            says "I'll beat the heat"

            And slurp of the broth
            brings cool splash to the chin.

            4 Replies
            1. re: FoodFuser

              Or Somen.

              Made some fresh dashi
              and then into tsuyu, yes!
              In the fridge to cool

              Shit... I can't do this like you - just ain't no poet... But the thin slurpy somen are my childhood summer fave. With some fresh bo-negi, kizami nori, wasabi.

              1. re: applehome

                I thought it was quite lovely, apple. :)

              2. I crave watery, crispy, cool foods.

                1. This thread makes me think of bun, vietnamese rice vermicelli salad, typically served with fresh veggies, grilled meats and/or fresh spring rolls. served with fish sauce dressing and chopped peanuts, it's always a summer favorite for me

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: bonewhiteglory

                    oh yeah...

                    stop it bwg! most of the necessary elements are 2 hours from my house... (although I do have a stash of fish sauce and rice paper rounds)

                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                        yeah but then I gotta source cilantro or mint or something and the shrimp and and... OK dammit I'm doing it! I did it at a friend's house last month in the city, and heck I'm hitting a town that at least has that later this week. I'll take a cooler in the car. gotta admit the first time was a weird texture, but the flavor brought me back.

                        I do a decent peanut sauce, but once in a pinch I used hoisin as a dipping sauce as well. I liked it, but was that a major sin to purists?

                        1. re: hill food

                          As a non-purist, my answer isn't worth much, but I eat them with doctored hoisin all the time, and I actually prefer it to the cooked peanut sauce. So does my mom who is 100% certifiably Vietnamese. :)))

                          I'm in So Cal so it's hard to imagine a place that doesn't have mint and cilantro at the ready. Where do you live that you have access to rice paper, but not the herbs?

                          1. re: inaplasticcup

                            Thanks I figured if it tastes good, well then hey! I'm in the middle of frickin' Ozarks nowhere. 2 hours to STL (family and friends) where I get the things like rice paper, wide rice noodle, fresh udon and soba, miso, fish sauce etc. out here I usu can source the herbs (or reasonable sub) and basic things (the condiments on the "international" aisle have made vast improvements).

                            1. re: hill food

                              The Ozarks. Wow! I'll bet you get interesting fishing and/or hunting and/or foraging out there, no?

                              1. re: inaplasticcup

                                ina: I'm not much of a hunter, but have seen interesting things on neighbor's tables. one makes a venison sausage that is amazing. I recently learned that even though the idea of crawfish nigiri sushi sounds like it might be good - don't do it, some idiot last summer tried it and a few months later was getting horribly sick, doctors had no idea why until his girlfriend remembered the experiment and it turns out a lot of crawfish in the rivers carry a parasite that has to be cooked out. he survived. eventually.

                                apple thanks, I'll remember that if I'm out that way.

                                1. re: hill food

                                  LOL. Thanks for the warning because that totally sounds like something I might try... :)

                              2. re: hill food

                                Go south to OKC. BIG Vietnamese community there, a couple of large supermarkets - the best is Super Cao Nguyen: http://www.caonguyen.com/

                                1. re: applehome

                                  That place is an Oasis
                                  On our dry southern plains.

                                  Best place for fishies and and meaties
                                  and veggies, and great kimchee.

                                  It's a Locus for our thriving food community.

                                  Applehome, how did you find out about it?

                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                    I've been down there off and on since the 70's when I was stationed at Tinker and married an Okie. I was last there this winter, from Nov to Feb and drove around a lot looking for Asian places (along with others). Super Cao Nguyen has a decent selection of non-Vietnamese items including Japanese - very little I couldn't get there. I forget the name of the other supermarket on Classen, nearby, but it's pretty good as well - not as big, but a good frozen food and fresh fish section.

                                    I was happy that I could get frozen Omochi at Cao Nguyen for New Years - to make Ozoni. They also have some really good prices on appliances, like electric hot pots and rice cookers.

                          2. re: inaplasticcup

                            finally made some goi cuon, so perfect in this weather, now I just have to perfect the rolling technique. I imagined somewhere there was somebody's grandmother laughing at my ineptitude. seriously mine always turn out floppy and resemble the equipment of a chronically unemployed porn actor.

                        2. re: bonewhiteglory

                          This kind of food is ideal for hot summer days! Bun Bo Fe is one of my favorites.

                          1. re: bonewhiteglory

                            Oh yes - love bun! And fresh spring rolls.

                            Just so the perfect thing in the heat.

                            On the other end of the spectrum, a fab homefood for the heat is cold borscht. (No meat, just beet.) Chill it, mix in a spoonful of sour cream so its blended but still lumpy, then crumple in a half sheet of matzo. Refreshing. Really!

                            And then when all else fails - eat ice cream for dinner.

                            1. re: happybaker

                              you know what can be interesting along with the sour cream in cold borscht? some cilantro and jalapeno, sort of a Russe-Mex mash-up.

                          2. Thai and Vietnamese foods really hit the spot during a heat wave.
                            For some strange reason, my mother would make mashed potatoes in a moat of cold buttermilk and eat it in a bowl when the mercury rose.
                            It was an odd thing that didn't catch on with me, but lordy, she enjoyed the heck out of it and found it very refreshing.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: monavano

                              Maybe a version of cold potato soup?