“Do you have miang kum?” I asked the chef of Ploy Thai. She was chatting outside the kitchen door chatting with her staff. I don’t usually accost chefs while the gates are still down, but I didn’t want to disappoint my friends who were joining me for a Thai food crawl in Elmhurst. My Thai is beyond limited, but I definitely heard her say something with the word miang. I was very excited to introduce my pals to the savory flavor bomb that is miang kum—dried shrimp, tiny skin on lime wedges, chilies, peanuts, dried shredded coconut, and a sugary fish sauce spiked paste—designed to be wrapped up in a leaf and enjoyed.
After a lovely breakfast of chicken and rice, it was time for miang. Miang kana ($9.95) leads off Ploy’s roster of chef’s specials. And with good reason. The mound of savory dried pork, lime wedges, chilies, peanuts, and ginger is one of the tastiest Thai snacks I have ever had in New York City. It comes with a stack of kana, or Chinese broccoli leaves. Scoop a bit of the magical mixture into a leaf, bundle it up and prepare to have your mind and palate blown. Spicy, savory, and with just a hint of sweetness, it’s the type of thing I could eat all day.
As it turns out my pals had been to Thailand and had already tried miang kum. So we were all very pleasantly surprised to try Ploy’s variation on the popular Thai snack. By the way if you are interested in trying the standard miang kum, Sugar Club, a lovely little shop two doors down from Ploy usually has kits for it along with loads of other prepared Thai food. And if you really want to dig deep into the food and culture of what I like to call SEA Elmhurst, why not take one of my tours.
Ploy Thai, 81-40 Broadway, Elmhurst, 718-205-7298