Laab Gai and Surly Hell at Sen Yai Sen Lek

Killer Pairing #1: Flat Earth Xanadu + Miang Kam & Tod Mun

Miang Kam // Photo by Natalie Champa Jennings

Miang Kam // Photo by Natalie Champa Jennings

Miang Kam is several small piles that add up to huge flavor. It starts with cups of lettuce or another leafy green like chard, young kale, or betel, as the seasons dictate. It’s then filled with pinches of dried shrimp, lime, peanuts, toasted coconut, thai chilies and red onions, with a shrimp paste that pulls it all together.
One could easily imagine this dish on the streets of Bangkok, though maybe Andrew Zimmern would substitute a grasshopper for the dried shrimp. The roast from the porter dampens the spice and the orange citrus melds with the lime and ginger on the finish.

The porter also works with the chewy Tod Mun fish cakes. Some red curry paste and kaffir lime bring a dynamic spice to the tilapia, which is cut nicely by a vinegary peanut-cucumber garnish. With the Miang Kam and a 22-oz. bottle of Xanadu, it’s a pleasant afternoon spread for two.

Killer Pairing #2: Surly Hell + Laab Gai

Laab Gai // Photo by Natalie Champa Jennings

Laab Gai // Photo by Natalie Champa Jennings

Laab Gai is the kind of dish you can truly never get sick of. Simply served on a bed of shredded cabbage with a side of sticky rice, it’s finely-diced chicken prepared with toasted rice powder and an intense mélange of lime, mint, lemongrass and other spices.

The style says it all (Helles is German for “light”) and, together, the already super-fresh Laab Gai makes a sparkling duet. Based on the success of this pairing, we’re sold on a new general guideline for food and beer combos: instead of German wines with Thai food, think German lagers.

John Garland also writes about food and drink for the Heavy Table.


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  1. bfmartucci says

    The Naam Prik Ong isn’t half bad either. If it’s chilly outside and you’re feeling extra hungry, it pairs well with a cup of the tom yum soup.

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