Today I found myself at the food court of Carrefour Rama IV. As with most food courts, there’s a lot to eat there: Muslim food, yen ta fo noodles, Thai-Chinese eats, laad naa, curries and much, much more. All in all, it’s a pretty average Bangkok food court, albeit on a slightly grander scale. However despite all these choices, I can never resist one particular dish when I see it. I’m a huge fan of veggies, and this dish has heaps. I also love fish and spicy stuff, and they’re both there as well. And I don’t like being locked into one single taste or flavour, and this dish has lots of variety.
The dish is naam phrik kapi, a ‘dip’ of shrimp paste mashed up with garlic, sugar, chilies and lime juice. The dip is served with rice, fresh vegetables, including green beans, wing beans and eggplants, par-boiled veggies, including cabbage, buap (a type of gourd), pumpkin, Chinese greens, and deep-fried battered eggplant, an omelet laced with cha om (a pungent herblike green), and perhaps most importantly, an entire battered and deep-fried mackerel.
Nam phrik kapi is a very Thai dish that tends to be served at people’s homes, rather than at restaurants. It’s also a dish that I don’t see too many foreigners eating. If you happen to be at a food court and see something that looks like the above, do try it. You might find the naam phrik spicy, but you can always just take a bit less. If you don’t happen to have a Thai food court at hand, recipes for naam phrik kapi can be found here and here.