'Thai' on Serious Eats

What to Order at Somtum Der, Isan Thai in the East Village

New York's not in any danger yet of becoming oversaturated with Isan-style Thai restaurants the way it was oversaturated with too many gloppy-pad-thai-and-cashew-chicken spots a few years ago (some would argue that even one such restaurant is an oversaturation), but they're sure becoming more and more prevalent. For lovers of the sticky rice and spicy salad-heavy cuisine, this is a good thing. Since Somtum Der opened a couple months ago, I've been in four times and have tried a good chunk of the menu. Here are my thoughts on the best dishes and what to avoid. More

Am Thai Bistro is Hit or Miss for Vegetarians

If Am Thai were to streamline some of its vegetarian options— leaving out the unnecessary veg and perhaps even the obligatory-seeming fried tofu chunks—it could be a great neighborhood joint. As it is, the restaurant offers a plethora of interesting meat-free dishes, so it's still a worthwhile destination if you live nearby. More

Uncle Boons: Traditional Thai Gets a Soho Spin

I've got to admit it: I did not like Uncle Boons the first time I went. At least, I thought I didn't. The staff was friendly as could be, the space was fun, I even made friends with some folks at the bar, but the food just seemed... off to me.

Things started fine with a Lon Jai ($10), a Thai version of a michelada that looks like a glass of sriracha with a peppered rim. The cold Singha beer bubbles up through the hot sauce and then—what's that?—coriander wafts up to your nose along with something more mysterious and musky. "It's salted pickled lime juice," the bartender tells me, as he puts a plate of their chopped lamb salad in front of me. Laab Neuh Gae ($14) comes on strong out of the gate, with an unmistakable lamb-y aroma and richness that makes you wonder, is lamb really the best choice for laab? It tasted heavy, fatty, not refreshing, until... wait a minute... Okay, suddenly I got it. Those slices of cucumber and pickled onion aren't just garnishes—their bracing sourness allows you to focus on the flavor of the lamb, not the fat. The dish, surprisingly, worked.

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Thai Grocery Shopping in Queens with Pok Pok Chef Andy Ricker

Popping out of the 74th Street-Broadway station in Jackson Heights, chef Andy Ricker of Pok Pok was ready to take us on a Thai market tour around the neighborhood. We traipsed up and down the aisles of a few markets specializing in Thai products as he pointed out the ones he likes (frozen coconut milk) and those he really doesn't care for (canned curry pastes; "don't ever buy them, please."). More

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