Nam Prik Noom

Lotus of Siam vs. New Mexico green chili

I ordered this dish at Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas

Bourdain said it's the best Thai food in America, so my hubby and I decided to go back after one bad experience at the buffet, waiting in line for at least 30 minutes last summer.

He wrote a review afterwards and you know what?
they took the buffet down.

Tourists take taxis and wait outside, so they can eat there—such a famous place

Nam Prik Noom is so similar to New Mexico green chili that I get so confused and surprised at these similarities.

According to the dish description on the menu, it's a very popular dip in Northern Thailand, so I ordered it even though hubby reminded “it's just a dip!”

I also order sticky rice on the side since it was mentioned on the menu.
Paid an extra $2.50

The sticky rice came in a bamboo container, like a box.  The rice was wrapped in plastic clingwrap inside the box.

I would like to see the recipes of these two dishes side by side, so I could see the similarities

Nam Prik Noom vs. New Mexico green chili
I just can't believe it!



13 shuijiao in Daliao
past the Chicken Man, Gina’s mother’s chung yo bing
Ah Sah’s Juli Café
and across the street from the firehouse
monsoon season before I was food poisoned
by the street food and could only eat
Quaker Steak LA Lickers delivered from Asian Dominos

We never touched the industrial sewing machines in my all-female home ec class
at Fong-Yuan High School, in Taichung County
a female teacher, with burn-scarred hands, taught us to hand-sew, crochet,
and at a long, thin table, she taught us how to make dumplings

Ground pork and cabbage
beef and cilantro
chicken and mustard greens
shrimp and celery

Ground pork and egg
garlic chives, leek
Korean kimchi and pork
add some minced ginger, green onion,
salt and pepper, sesame oil, and soy sauce

Vegetarian, add taro, dried or fresh shitake mushrooms
Deep fried, pan fried, steamed, add soup or hot chili, anyway you want!

Western fusion, comfort classics in Asian wrappers
macaroni and cheese, bacon cheeseburger
hot wings and ranch, beef portobello
pizza and apple pie
eggplant lasagna, making me gasp, Mama Mia!

Eddie Huang, the Taiwanese American who out-Bourdained Bourdain,
saw the yellow Dump Truck in Portland
next to SomTum Gai Yang’s BBQ chicken and papaya salad
and said Confucius would roll over in his grave if he saw this truck!


Bottarga or Wu Yu Zi

Bottarga, Bottarga, what is Bottarga?

I was very surprised to see it
These orange dried eggs with a shape like a Chinese fruit, 枇杷, pronounced Pipa
or instrument, 琵琶, with the same pronunciation
on Anthony Bourdain one day when he visited Sardinia, Italy
And I said “that’s 烏魚子 !” pronounced as Wu Yu Zi

translated as black fish egg in Mandarin Chinese,
which I once ate when my father was around during Chinese New Year

I cannot forget its distinguishing flavor!

It was served with leek, green onion, or garlic thinly sliced

It was actually just dried salty raw fish eggs with a very distinct flavor

On Bourdain’s show, the Bottarga was served with spaghetti which surprised me

Because having been to so many Italian restaurants in the U.S. myself
including the one next to Old Fashioned Bakery in Glen Cove, Long Island and Capo’s in Vegas, where Vito sent me

I have never had it with spaghetti
or anywhere besides Taiwan with thinly- sliced leek or garlic

I thought it was a Taiwanese specialty—
Only in Taiwan

Little did I know that it originally came from Egypt where it got its name from the Greek word dried
and the Egyptian definite article and grew in popularity all along the Mediterranean   


Stinky Tofu

胖嘟嘟的老外, a bald, overweight white guy, in orange shorts walks into
Dai's House of Unique Stench—the ultimate stinky tofu
followed by a TV crew, a rabbi at an Arkansas pig roast

Hole in the wall, no menu but booked years in advance like Raos in NYC

Once inside, a kitchen tour
gray rotting ichor
cakes stamped with the characters unique stink

老外說, the white guy said,
That gives a whole new meaning to term smell my fingers
These things are alive: this is living food
I’m waiting for something to leap out there and grab me by the throat
Tastes worse than it sounds
Remember those words—I may have to eat them later
I've gone from scared to repulsed
Oh my gosh—bring this back

Fusion—a tomato cucumber tripe and Taiwanese kimchi burger with stinky tofu as a bun is
the star of the segment, a 75 year-old burgundy

Zimmern: You make the only food that beat me!
Ms. Wu: You enjoy that?
Yu Shu Lien and Xiao Long overlook the entire scene, with Ang Lee’s autograph
Pussy!  You spit out durian, too.

A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania potato person leaves Peppi’s
ten years ago before it went to hell, taken over by bikers
and walks into a Chinese restaurant
the Mexican proprietor with the Chinese wife told him to
hold his nose and pretend he’s eating lobster

In Yi Mei Champion Taiwan Deli at the corner of Spring Mountain and Jones
an average older white woman ate it without thinking twice
She used chopsticks to grab one hunk, took a few bites, and then
asked for it to be packed to take home
Gao shen me搞什麼, what a surprise!?

Dr. Yi-Wen Huang is from Taiwan and an Associate Professor of English and Linguistics at University of New Mexico-Gallup.  She lived and attended universities in Long Island, NY and Pittsburgh, PA.  Her research focuses on language and affect.  Her hobbies include zumba, spinning, thrift shopping, edm, and traveling as a foodie and tea aficionado.