This quick and easy Thai Tomato Salad is the perfect complement to any Thai meal!
Any of you who have been to Portland in the past few years have undoubtedly heard of the wildly popular Pok Pok Thai restaurant. As someone who is completely freakin’ obsessed with Thai food, I am embarrassed to admit that up until last month I had never eaten at Pok Pok.
Truth be told, I am not a huge fan of uber trendy restaurants or waiting a long time to get a table, so the husband and I just kind of ignored it as a date night option. One overcast Sunday a few weeks back we were driving around doing something I can’t remember (estate sale? comic book store? home depot?) and we started getting hungry. I was searching on my phone for nearby restaurants when Pok Pok popped up.
It was about 3:00pm, so we figured that the wait wouldn’t be too bad, because, you know, how many other weirdos eat at 3:00pm on a Sunday? Well, as it turns out, a LOT of people. The line just to check in to inquire about a table was AROUND THE BLOCK. Cars were dropping people off to get in line before driving through the neighborhood to look for parking. There were so many people standing around it was impossible to tell who was in line, who was waiting for a table, and who was waiting to get picked up at the curb.
When we were in Bangkok a few years back one of the things I quickly learned was that lines don’t mean a lot in Thailand. I’m sure that I am overgeneralizing here, but for the most part it was an every-woman-for-herself operation when waiting to use the ladies room, and a few times it got dangerously close to a mosh pit situation when we were trying to board the subway.
As no one seemed to be paying much attention to the “line” at Pok Pok (too busy applying mustache wax and comparing bird-themed tattoos, I suppose), I used my authentic Bangkok skills and found my way to the front of the line. I told myself that the husband and I deserved to get a table first because we had actually been to Thailand (BEFORE IT WAS COOL!) and learned the right way to get to the front of a queue.
Yes, I’m a bad person, but let’s just blame it on the fact that I was hungry, and I can’t be held responsible for my actions when I’m hungry.
We were seated within fifteen minutes and after a short wait we had a feast of Thai dishes laid out before us on our table. I can say that without a doubt it was the best Thai food I’ve had since Thailand, and was certainly the most authentic to boot. The dishes themselves weren’t necessarily what you think of when you think of classic Thai cuisine, but the flavors and techniques were spot on. I keep meaning to buy this cookbook which was written by Andy Ricker, the owner and culinary genius behind Pok Pok.
Confession: Just clicking over to Amazon to get you that link was the final push for me to buy it, so I just did. It is on its way here! Eee!
Alright, enough about my weird online shopping habits.
So you’re probably wondering what this long rambling story has to do with this recipe post. Right, well one of the dishes we ordered at Pok Pok was a “special of the day,” scribbled on the chalk board as “Thai tomato salad.” It was one of my favorite things we ate (and we ate A LOT; our waiter told us he was impressed), so I knew I had to recreate the recipe to share with all of you.
This is incredibly simple to put together and is truly packed with flavor. Don’t be
grossed out intimidated by the fish sauce; it adds a savory, salty flavor to just about anything, and while the smell is a little pungent it doesn’t taste like fish when you cook with it. I put fish sauce in seriously EVERYTHING nowadays (beef stew, marinara sauce, bloody marys…) and use it like I would Worcestershire sauce.
You’re going to love this easy dish. Enjoy!
Here’s Your Recipe!
- 3 medium tomatoes, cut into bite-sized wedges
- 2 Thai (bird's eye) chilies, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1/8 cup fish sauce
- 1/8 cup water
- Toss all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Let rest at room temperature until ready to serve. Use a slotted spoon for serving.