Everywhere, the pig is getting its long overdue, but just due props.
And I myself have to admit that I also am guilty as charged... I am a lover of pig.
In fact, my absolute favorite dish in all of Thai cuisine (and I have many favorites) is khawkhaamuu--rice with choice bits of lean and fatty pig leg, Chinese broccoli and preserved egg, all doused with a healthy dose of pork broth, in which all of the aforementioned had been slowly cooked. And my absolute favorite place to eat this heavenly creation is on Soi Laylaysaap ("the street where money disappears") in the Silom district of Bangkok. Oh, the memories of stopping by my favorite street vendor stand for lunch and buying a box lunch for 30 baht (a fraction of a dollar)!
my own flowery hyperbole added for affect.
I can't even fathom or entirely describe in words the way that I loved the experience or the way that each individual dish rekindled my love for pork...(yes, the meat pictured above is beef) becomes transformed from raw to cooked to charred, the way the fat gains so much when it starts to solidify and then crust, all wrapped in the crunch of preserved daikon or the supple softness of the rice cake (duk) wrapper.
It has to do with all the right components mixing together: the char of the perfectly wood-grilled fat; the tender, sweet and succulent meat; the fiery slow-burn of the Korean peppers; the just-right pinch of large salt crystals; the subtle richness of the sesame oil; and the well-doused, but still resilient, leafy greens.
And at Don Dae Gam, it even had something to do with the amazing accompaniments: the seafood pancake...
the spicy octopus with rice cake...
and the kimchi fried (brown) rice.But above all else, it was the pork... the meat was of amazing quality, sliced and marinaded with great care and respect. The neck and the belly were featured in all their glory. It was like a homecoming for me, a reminder of a long lost love returned.