Monday, August 08, 2005

The Glories of Som Tam

by AJ

How did I ever live without Som Tam (Spicy Papaya Salad)?

There's no more sublime pleasure than gulping down a plate of lip burning, tongue scorching, mouth watering Som Tam. Its a beautiful blend of pleasure and pain: an addictive combination of sour, sweet, and salty spices.... fresh green papaya... and red hot chilis.

I gulp a spoonful and coo in delight. Two minutes later Im chugging water and ice to quench the burn.... which I chase with forkfuls of khao niaw (sticky rice). Of course, it never works. Im in pain... but the delectable dish calls... so I suck an ice cube to numb my tongue for the few seconds it takes to spoon in another bite.

For a moment, there is only the magical blend of papaya and spices... then the tongue warms and ignites... glorious pain.

To think I was once a meat and potatoes guy!

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