Patrons of Thai restaurants are probably going for the curry. Thick, savory red, brown or green sauce over a bowl of rice with thick chunks of juicy meat and fresh veggies would be hard for anyone to pass up, but, Thai cuisine has got more to offer than just curry. Thai cuisine may use a lot of the same components, but when prepared differently, a great Thai chef can breathe a whole new life into a familiar combination of ingredients. With Thai food, the whole is much, much greater than the sum of its parts.
It may give you some difficulty when it comes time to order it, but the DIG staff has taken a particular liking to Thai Kitchen’s Goong Op Mor Din. While, admittedly, not the most appetizing sounding name, this Thai delicacy is anything but unappetizing. It’s made of baked large butterfly shrimp with silver noodles, garlic, ginger root, cilantro, white pepper and scallions. The dish is served in a beautiful clay pot, so presentation is taken into account.
Like most, if not all, Asian dishes, this one circumvents dairy entirely. Certainly disappointing for grilled cheese lovers like myself, but, I assure you, this dish does just fine without it.
The butterfly shrimp are plump and juicy, and Thai Kitchen knows their way around it. Serving seafood in the Deep South almost forces you to become experts on the subject, and in that department, they have succeeded. Top off these familiar faces with more classically Asian spices and herbs and you’ve got a superb dish that plays very nicely with anyone accustomed to seafood.
I’ve once heard Thai food described as the Mexican food of Asia. Regardless of international sensitivities, there does seem to be some merit to this point. Thai food has a tendency to use the same ingredients throughout various dishes, can easily be botched and taken from a great dish to an okay one and has the potential to rock your damn socks off. The Goong Op Mor Din at Thai Kitchen exemplifies the best of all these qualities.