I was telling you the other day about the “mushrooms” I ate at the Holy Land Deli. As unexpected as that experience was, it does not compare, in terms of sheer stink-itude, with the appetizer I had the other day.
That's right. It was so strong, so not what I would have wanted to have voluntarily paid $6 for that I had to make up a word.
Kathy, Kurt, Willie, Erin, Amy, Jewel, Diane, Bill, and I went out last Friday night. A new restaurant in the neighborhood: Thai. We've waited a long time for this!
The menu, I have to admit, was indecipherable to me. I have no idea what “isaan” means, whether or not I’d like the Guay Teow Neua Sup or if the Pad Prik Khin is fresh. “Guay Teow Neua Sup” could be the Thai words for “crap found at the back of the fridge” and I wouldn’t know it.
It’s true. My Thai sucks.
But hey! The menu read beautifully, and I fell in love with the ingredients: ginger, lime, chilies, shallots.
Sounds good, right? That’s why I ordered the Miang Kam as an appetizer.
Miang Kam: Thai lettuce wraps with peanuts, dried shrimp, ginger, lime, toasted coconut, chilies, and shallots. Served with a salty-sweet shrimp sauce.
OK. Maybe I was hungry, because on second thought, the dried shrimp doesn’t really sound appetizing to me, especially given what I now know about it, but let’s quickly skip by my own culpability here...
Mmmm. Thai lettuce wraps. Ginger! Chilies!
Here’s a picture of what was delivered to me.
It’s a fuzzy picture. Kathy took it with her phone. If you can’t tell, let me tell you what you’re looking at.
- Two very large lettuce leaves
- Six dried shrimp
- Four tiny slices of chilies
- Six peanuts
- Four pieces of lime (as an example of the size of these pieces, you could probably get 400 of these out of one lime)
- A teaspoon of shredded dried coconut (I’ve snorted larger piles of snuff)
- No ginger
- No shallots - chopped red onion
OK. Hey. I’m a sport. Let’s just see how this thing rolls up… I put two shrimp, two peanuts and a slice of a Thai chili in a leaf twice the size of my face, drizzled on top of that a teaspoon of the “shrimp sauce”, rolled it up, and took a bite.
You remember that scene in the movie “Jaws”, where the sheriff is sitting at the back of the Orca, shoveling bloody fish guts from a bucket – “chum” – into the sea, trying to lure the shark?
If that scene had come in Smell-O-Rama, if you could taste that scene, you would know what the Miang Kam is like.
Visions of dried Sea Monkeys swam in front of me.
Like the “mushrooms”, I was able to swallow it relatively gracefully – as opposed, say, to spitting it into my napkin or ridding my mouth of the taste by sliding the contents of a pitcher of beer over my tongue.
Unfortunately, it was so unbelievably bait-like, so rank, so smells-like-the-lakeshore’s-ripe that a miasma of stink slid up my sinuses, got into my head...
I also got two other people at the table to try it, just for fun.
The Khao Soi I had as a main dish washed the taste away.
The list of things I won’t eat has grown: hard-boiled eggs, liver, whatever was breaded and on the Ramadan buffet at the Holy Land last year, and now dried shrimp and whatever was in the “shrimp sauce”.
Happy Friday, everyone.