Raw Liver at ลาบ ลับ ลับ ปรีดี 43

Either Taro or my cousin knew about an awesome Japanese street restaurant in Bangkok that serves raw beef liver – a dish once very popular in Japan that is now very hard to get (where it is available, single portions are apparently given out to customers in a sealed plastic container with origin/tracking information). Everything was excellent, but the liver, served traditionally with rock salt and sesame oil, was outstanding. Taro and I ate too much.

The sashimi was also pretty good:

It was very hot that night, but we had a blast:

65 baht plate lunch

This was at the very end of last year. This cafeteria-type place near our friend’s bakery (the legendary Sang-R-Thit) has since closed down, but it was good while it lasted. This plate was pork panang and long bean stir fry with an egg from khai palo (five spice stewed pork belly and hard boiled eggs). All together about $1.75 US. The food at this place was pretty good, especially at those prices.

Potak Soup

“Potak” apparently means “shipwreck,” although I haven’t confirmed it beyond a Google search.*

This may be considered a variant of Tom Yum Goong, although it really depends on who’s making it. Some online recipes describe it as Tom Yum soup with nam phrik pao (roasted chili paste) added, but every version I’ve had has been much more than that – some are more sour, some have a pinkish stock, some are clear, and some, as above, are packed with herbs. Either way, when we find versions we like, they are usually superior to Tom Yum Goong (which also comes in many versions, the most popular overseas version being the creamy style with coconut milk). Just looking at this photo makes my mouth water with anticipated sour garlic spice explosions – we will visit this place (near Nam’s uni) again, soon.

*Update: After some more research, the “Po” in “potak” refers to a fishing pontoon used in the south of Thailand. “Tak” means “break.” So this word compound refers to when a pontoon breaks off (e.g. during a storm) and floats away. My best guess as to a specific kind of pontoon (there are many, including floating docks and piers) is described by this page as a “bamboo stake trap” set in shallow or deep water. I will archive some photos from that page and others here:

I need to go check these out in person sometime, they look fascinating.

Gaeng Liang (Spicy Thai Vegetable Soup)

If I had to describe it in two words, I might say “peppery” and “fishy” – which is strange, because I hate most fishy things. For some reason, it really works with this soup, although not everywhere makes it fishy. This soup is a bit rare and old school, but I’ve found it’s an excellent indicator that you should try other less common dishes on the menu if it’s good. Places that don’t have fresh ingredients all the time won’t bother to make this.