My darling and always hungry wife S and I are big Thai food fans. Which means (quite automatically) that we’re big, big fans of Chef David Thompson. No chef has done more to teach us non-Thais about really good, authentic Thai food than David. So, when we heard that David’s latest restaurant, Nahm, located in the always chic lobby of The Metropolitan Hotel in Bangkok, was finally opening its doors last Saturday, we jumped at the chance to be among its first guests.
We flew up to Bangkok on Friday via a very crowded Cathay Pacific flight. We were originally going to be quite boring and stay in that night, ordering up some room service (to say we had a very long week at the office would have been a gross understatement). But to our great fortune, David was able to extract himself from the restaurant for a few hours and invited us, along with a few other friends, to head out to a street stall just a short walk from The Met. I love David’s Thai Street Food . It’s a book I just love flipping through. So there was no way (no matter how tired we were), either S or I were going to turn down the offer to head out on the streets of the City of Angels with the book’s author.
We had a fabulous meal. One of the dishes I enjoyed most was a lovely plate of grilled pork neck–one of my all-time favourite cuts of what I’ve previously declared is my favourite type of meat.
The following day, S and I had lunch with an old friend who is now working in the kitchens of the Grand Hyatt Bangkok. He hosted us to a really sensational lunch at the Erawan Tea Room (an old favourite of mine). The chef, Khun Fat, whipped up several dishes for us that weren’t on the menu. Everything was great but the two that really stood out were a platter of curried softshelled crabs fried with scrambled eggs and a lip-smackingly good chargrilled pork neck coated with a thick, delicious sweet, slightly sour and spicy sauce (pictured left; photo taken with Blackberry 9700).
Since coming back to Singapore, I’ve been thinking of making my own chargrilled pork neck at home. So, earlier in the week, I popped over to Huber’s, where I get all my meat, and picked up a giant slab of pork neck. I decided not to get the Kurobuta but to just buy the normal Aussie pork neck — I didn’t want the meat to be too fatty.
I then did what I guess one does when you are a bit shameless and have chef friends. I pestered David Thompson into giving me some pointers on what to do with the pork neck. Gentleman that he is, David emailed over some quick instructions plus the ingredients for a yummy, piquant sauce for the pork. David suggested marinating the pork for a bit with some fish sauce and sugar. I decided to be a tad extremist and let the pork marinate overnight. He then advised to grill the pork over low heat, cooking it slowly and evenly. I preheated my Miele indoor barbecue and popped two slabs of the pork neck (which I had trimmed to be about 3 inches in diameter) on it for about 50 minutes, turning it every 15 minutes or so.
Here’s the sauce recipe David sent over.
“3 tablespoons lime juice
a tablespoon or two fish sauce
pinch white sugar
very large pinch of chilli powder – ie small dried chillies, toasted then ground
4 red shallots, sliced
shredded pak chii farang (long-leaf coriander)
chopped coriander leaves
1 tablespoon ground roasted rice – again toasted rice, ground
Combine the lime juice with the fish sauce, sugar and chillies. It should, no must taste salty sour and bloody hot. Stir in the shallots and herbs. Finished, sprinkled with the roasted rice. Eat with your grilled pork neck, some sticky rice and a plate of vegetables, including cabbage, cucumber and green beans.”
The sauce had a lovely, hot, spicy, sour taste. I have to admit I like my sauces a bit sweet so I added a teaspoon of palm sugar to it. We paired the pork, as suggested by David, with some sticky rice (well, actually we made “sushi rice” but close enough). We served this dish as the amuse bouche at a dinner party we hosted this weekend. It was very well-received and I’m definitely making this again. Even if it’s just as a snack for myself.