Monday, July 21, 2014

nykeiko eats: Thai-Isan cuisine at Somtum Der [East Village, NYC]

Dave and I have been keeping up with episodes of Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown. If you are kind of a foodie or a world traveler that likes to immerse yourself in the culture (usually by consuming large amount of food) then you should definitely watch this show.

A couple of weeks ago, after watching this episode about Thailand and drooling a bucket by the end of it, it was coincidentally dinner time and I absolutely needed some thai food in my watering mouth. In this particular episode, Mr. Bourdain met up with chef Andy Ricker in Chiang Mai and they just kept eating non-stop and it was painful great to watch. My craving for thai food was palatable. I wanted thai food and I wanted it now!

I started Googling and found a few top thai restaurant lists for New York city. I crossed out the places we have been to before and researched the menus whenever they were available. I didn't want the run-of-the-mill pad thai or tom yum soup but the gritty, greasy, intensely spicy dishes that make you sweat. We have already tried Andy Ricker's Pok Pok (reviewed here) in Brooklyn which would have been the perfect place to go to to satisfy my craving but to be honest, Pok Pok was a bit inconvenient for us to get to now that we live in upper Manhattan. Queens has a bunch of thai restaurants where we have already tried a couple like SriPraPhai.  But insisting on staying on Manhattan, I finally found Somtum Der- which opened last year and got a few good positive reviews. The menu caught my attention (prawn sashimi with chili sauce, spicy papaya salad with salted eggs, larbs with chopped duck, meat skewers, hot chicken soups...yes,yes,yes,yes) and oh, the fact that Somtum Der can also be found in Bangkok sealed the deal.

I called and made reservations although it wasn't needed. When we got there, I even ordered a cold Singha beer to modestly replicate Bourdain's drinking habits on the show. The food was spicy and awesome. The only thing I thought we could have not ordered was the Pad Thai Mun Poo (ha,ha poo). I should have also maybe tuned down on the spice level so that I could enjoy the food without having to wipe my forehead of sweat every 5 minute or so. Also, I wish that we were a group of people so that we could have sampled more dishes but the 5 dishes we shared amongst the two of us is no easy feat. I really wanted to try that prawn sashimi dish...oh well, next time for sure!

Here is what we consumed...

Tum Thai Kai Kem : Thai Spicy Papaya Salad with salted egg
Some sticky rice to wash down the spice

Moo Rong Hai Der + Khao Ji : House special grilled marinated pork
Gaeng Om Kai: Chicken Soup with local herbs Isan Style

I practically leaked the whole plate of Nam Tok Moo which is grilled pork spicy salad mixed with roasted minced rice
And because over ordering is our forte, we also got the Pad Thai Mun Poo

A refreshing cold beer to soothe your burning mouth...

Thanks for reading! x 

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