…Don came by and we drove to Queens for a late dinner at Sripraphai, a Thai restaurant I’ve been long dying to visit. The occasion was especially exciting because it was the first time I’ve sat in a car that was NOT a taxi since I’ve moved to this city. I’ve always been an advocate of public transportation (or maybe it’s cause I’m a terrible driver)…but I must say, it was pretty nice to be able to go to Queens without getting on the creeky 7 train!
Fried Watercress Salad
Sripraphai was doing brisk business half an hour before closing time, and we were quickly seated at a table in the middle of the restaurant, handed a word menu, and another elaborate one with photos of every dish (eye candy – I wish I could have taken it home! ;). We shared three dishes; the highlight was definitely the fried watercress salad. The word FRIED placed before WATERCRESS should already have you drooling, and if not…well, shame on you! A mix of squid, shrimp and chicken marinated in a sauce much akin to nuoc nam, though with a sharper twist of lime, waited, hidden beneath this crazy billowing mass of crispy deep-fried watercress. A handful of cashews topped it off for an extra twist of crunch, and oooh, it was wonderful, wonderful.
Soy Sauce Noodles with Pork
We also had a dish of soy sauce noodles with pork which, while enjoyable, with plenty of fresh Chinese broccoli, was a step down coming right after the fried watercress. I was much more partial to the green curry with just the right hit of spiciness. I’ll always be enamoured with Thai eggplants, no matter how many times I have the opportunity to indulge in this vegetable. It’s the appearance I love, the tiny tomatillo-eque apperance, so dainty, perfect, and whole. Instead of the usual fish paste balls you’ll find in curries, the curry held tender fish paste smears. Yes smears. It was like flattened balls, or irregular rectangular smears of fish paste. Spooned over hot rice, and served alongside the watercress salad and soy sauce noodles…and well, the draining tax season and going back to more work tomorrow seemed very far away.
As we exited the restaurant we took a very long pause in front of the magical fridge filled with a bounty of Thai desserts. I swear, they had everything in there: tub tim grob, kanom thien, takoe and a bazillion more I cannot name. No sticky rice + durian + coconut milk though…hands down, my most favourite dessert. EVER.
Steamed Pumpkin Custard
I applauded myself for exercising extreme restraint by just getting one dessert, the steamed pumpkin custard. And then when I got home an hour and a half later, I ate the whole thing. So much for restraint. (But I did share with my apartment-mate, Shann! ;) It’s quite a lovely dessert – for both its texture and flavour. A simple mix of eggs, sugar, and coconut cream is blended, poured into a hollowed pumpkin, and then steamed. Served chilled with a garnish of foi thong, a whimsy of spun sugar and egg yolks, it was delight to sink my spoon in over and over again though the custardy layers and soft creamy pumpkin. Pop it in your mouth to get a taste of both components at once, the pumpkin more than willingly melts into the custard, falling apart and giving away ever so sensually. The serving may look big, but rest assured, it goes down very, very quick!
64-13 39th Avenue
Woodside, NY 11377
We’re going back into the archives to revisit these classic posts by James Norwood Pratt. This post includes “China Black”, “Keemun – Splendor of Flavor and Perfume”, and “Yunnan – Among the Grandest of the World’s Black Teas”. We have added a link to the end of each one to … Continue reading
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