Tonight's dinner was at a khao tom restaurant called Kan Eng ("On Our Own", or something similiar). As I think I've mentioned before, khao tom literally means "boiled rice" and usually refers to a dish of rice soup, such as this, featured previously. However in another sense it can also refer to the repertoire of made-to-order Chinese-style dishes that are typically consumed with small bowls of watery boiled rice.
We started with tom jap chay, a Chinese-style "stew" of pork ribs, mustard greens, dried mushrooms, white radish and whole garlic cloves (!):
And there were hoy talaep (I think that's what they're called...?):
Small cockles that look and taste like rubber, and when eaten raw, emit an alarmingly red juice that looks like blood. These were par-boiled and served with a really strong garlic-chili-fish sauce "seafood" dipping sauce, which really made them taste just like the sauce (which made them edible).
This bad boy is probably one of my favorite Thai veggie dishes:
It's a stir fry of the of the tender stalks and leaves of the small gourd known as chayote (or mirleton if you're in New Orleans or fak maew in Thailand) with garlic and fermented soybeans. Incidentally, in a bizarre example of foodblogger synchronicity, this veggie is also the basis of a question in today's post at the Hanoi-based sticky rice. I think I've answered it.
And to complete our vegetable feeding frenzy, there was phat khanaeng fai daeng:
Khanaeng is a crunchy green leaf somewhere between brussels sprouts and kale (yes, such a thing exists), and is fried here with hearty chunks of salted preserved fish. Very salty, very garlicky, and very good.