That Pork Dish

Having only just arrived in Bangkok and thrown our bags carelessly at our hostel beds, our first thought turned to the empty, vacant feeling that pervaded our transit weary stomachs. Having been to Bangkok before we knew exactly what we wanted. Khao Kha Moo – pork leg stewed long and low in a mixture of spices served atop perfectly cooked rice and Asian greens, doused in a proprietary dressing consisting of the essential chilli, garlic and vinegar mix – known affectionately, to us, as ‘The Pork Dish’.

What followed was temporary heart break. We ambled down to our favourite spot, near Soi Rambuttri, to find only empty space where the vendor had flogged her swiney delights on our last visit. Our eyes peeled on the lookout for the friendly, beckoning pig that accentuated the stall amongst the other street snack sellers.

Old friend

Old friend

No such luck. Our semi-jocular fears were realised. Our flight long eulogising had only tempted fate. We felt like nothing could cure our hunger other than this, now, mythical dish. Our tunnel vision was short-lived, however, as we came to the soothing realisation that we were in Bangkok – one of the street food capitals of the world – and that myriad equally delicious alternatives could be found within a childs stone throw. We weren’t wrong. Not six-feet from where we stood, gazing at where ‘The Pork Dish’ once was, resided a purveyor of delicious pork noodle soup. The broth mimicking that familiar flavour of the slow cooked pig that won our hearts and bellies the year before.

Soup Suckin

Party:Rush and Owen getting involved

Our hopes restored and stomachs filled we headed out for a wander and few drinks to celebrate the beginning of our six-month Asian sojourn. Little did we know that, on our return, we would be greeted with the most glorious sights and aromas that a slightly drunk, very heartbroken, food fanatic could possibly wish for. There it was, in all its slow cooked glory…’The Pork Dish’.

Vendor The asian spices, the succulent pig parts…the      knowing grin of our ‘old friend’ the pig. I was already  fumbling wildly in my pockets for the  necessary baht  to render me, well and truly, ‘pork  dished’ before  anyone else had even noticed it  standing there. I was  in auto-  pilot as I order myself one. One? As if one  would be  anywhere near enough. We gleefully  handed  over  our 30 baht offerings – honestly, we  would’ve  paid  300 – and received our polystyrene  troughs of  joy. It  was all I could do not to snatch the  food, fly-  trap  like, and run off into the night in a  pork-induced  narcosis. I steadied myself, gave our  thanks and  wandered homeward where we could  devour our  dinner with the respect and decorum we  feel this  dish is due.

We ordered ourselves a tepid, frothy Chang (the only  way to sud in Thailand) and sat down to the most  eagerly anticipated meal since the ‘Last Supper’.

Khao Kha Moo

Khao Kha Moo

We fleetingly admired it in all its simple, piggy glory before unashamedly inhaling the meal in a ‘feeding time at the zoo’ like frenzy – both despicable and glorious in equal measure. Pausing intermittently to admire the perfectly tender, subtly spice pork. Fatty and succulent – a real departure from the traditionally light, healthy, guilt-free dishes usually served up in South East Asia. The fall apart nature of the hock is offset by the welcome crunch of the barely cooked greens and the cleansing, absorbent rice. All this brought together by the tangy, spicy dressing that cuts so perfectly through the rich, soft meat. After months and months of anticipation, the event was over in a matter of minutes…and it wasn’t long before we were out on the street again ordering ourssleves a greedy second helping – just to make sure we were right the first time.

Look for the pig

2 responses to “That Pork Dish

  1. This really made me want to get on the next plane and head back to Thailand. Really well told culinary experience of some of the world’s best food. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading.

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