Monday, January 7, 2008

Strange Food: Part Nine

"I will make Lanna food," she said, and she walked out front and started pulling leaves off the mango tree, regular big leaves. Things like this make me anxious because I have learned that there's only one thing to do if a woman cooks and that's to eat it and say it's great. That's two things.

The Lanna food, Northern Thai Cuisine, can be very bitter, they like bitter, and regular tree leaves are often bitter, so I thought, bitter, I don't care much for bitter. I didn't see all the ingredients go in, but two of those small mackerel, the one's they call "Thai tuna," were painstakingly de-boned and pulled into little pieces. It all came out of a mortar after much pestling.

So what do you know, it was great. "Yam Bai Ma'muang," "Mango Leaf Salad." Not bitter at all. "You can only make this one month in a year." A little spicy, a little sour, a little sticky-rice, some gai yang, another feast.

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