On weekend mornings the counter at Sugar Club, a Thai grocer/video store, is lined with dozens of containers of prepared foods. Many of these come in the form of a kit to be assembled at home. Last weekend kao krup kapi ($7) caught my eye. Onions, sliced raw green beans, and Thai chilies occupied one side of the container. Slivers of unripened mango and a tangle of sliced omelet and dried shrimp filled the other quadrant. Reddish rice and a baggie of sweet pork formed the base. I could hardly wait to assemble this DIY Thai takeout.
Back home I wasn’t quite sure how to proceed. I settled on nuking the rice and pork and then topping it with the other ingredients. The result was a lovely blend of Thai flavors and textures: Cool crunchy beans and mango, fiery chilies, sweet pork, dried shrimp. And enough funk to power Parliament’s Mothership. Surely it couldn’t all have come from the dried shrimp. A quick query to Andy Ricker revealed that kapi, or shrimp paste, had been mixed with the rice. It now occurs to me that perhaps I was supposed to heat the rice and pork and reserve the other ingredients to make a side salad of sorts. Either way it was some of the tastiest Thai I’ve had in a while. Best of all, there was enough for two meals.
Sugar Club, 81-20 Broadway, Elmhurst, 718-565-9018