Green Papaya. A new allegiance.


In conversation with some friends I stupidly went off on a tangent about how I thought Thai food in Portland can compete quite well with the real stuff here. In my defense I had only been here for two days. I should have kept my ignorant opinions to myself. It’s a trait of mine I am not very fond of. I just bought a green papaya salad from a food cart. I take back everything i said previously and must apologize to the food whose very origins I have regrettably diminished.

What’s more intriguing is the simplicity of this salad. I have had it before at the more upscale thai restaurants in the states, but clearly they had complicated things with hundreds of ingredients thrown in. The problem is trying to make things too fancy. Sometimes the simple, nearing on elementary, is what makes excellence.

A pestle and mortal the size of a salad bowl. Five Thai chili (don’t chop them), fish sauce, a lime cut in thirds, a big clove of garlic, a spoon of sugar. Mash a lot. Add Peanuts. Mash a little. Two handfuls shredded green papaya, some shredded carrots, a handful of fresh green beans and two wedges of tomato. Another, slightly more half hearted mash. A quick toss to distribute the sauce. Don’t remove the mashed limes. The inflated island price is 50 baht (about $1.60). Lovely.

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