Mmmm Shrimp Paste

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Sep 152004

Wife was out of town this weekend, so I ate some Thai food. Our local Thai grocery sells prepared Thai dishes on Saturday. Some are even homemade, and all are cooked to the Thai palate, as opposed to most Thai restaurants that cook to American tastes. They also have many dishes that never seem to appear on American Thai restaurant menus, mostly Nam Prik. Nam Prik is a super strong tasting sauce that’s served with raw, blanched, or fried vegetables. The most ubiquitous Nam Prik is the venerable Nam Prik Kapi. Nam means water or liquid in Thai. Prik means pepper, (white pepper is Prik Thai, chillies are Prik ee nu, Prik Chee Fah, etc.), and Kapi is fermented shrimp paste. Nam Prik Kapi is a very hot, salty, sour, and pungent condiment. It, or any other Nam Prik is an integral part of a traditional Thai meal.

Another great Kapi dish is Kao Pad Kapi, or Shrimp Paste fried rice. I had that on Saturday. It’s a fine one dish meal served with sweet pork and sliced vegetables. An acquired taste for sure, but great.

My Wife is very allergic to shrimp so Kapi is not used in my kitchen, but I really do like it, especially with lots of chillies.

The quintessential Central Thai meal is probably RICE, Nam Prik Plah Too (Nam Prik Kapi, vegetables, and fried steamed salted mackerel) and Gaeng Som (sour curry).

That’s good stuff.

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