More on Southern Thai Food: Khanom Jeen

For today's lunch I went to a restaurant near my home in Bangkok that specializes in southern Thai-style khanom jeen. Khanom jeen are fresh noodles made from fermented rice, and are usually served with some sort of a curry/sauce and a fat tray of fresh veggies as illustrated below:

Khanom jeen are available all over the country, but are probably most associated with southern Thai cooking. Today I had khanom jeen with kaeng tai plaa, "fish kidney curry". It's a southern dish that is made from highly salted, preserved fish kidneys, an ingredient I'm sure that, after having made its debut here at RealThai, will be very much in demand this coming year. As far as I can tell, the fish kidneys only impart an extremely salty taste; unfortunately there seems to be little of that desireable fish gut flavor that everybody's been raving about lately. The curry is probably one of the spiciest in Thailand, and is topped up with grilled fish torn into pieces. In southern Thailand the curry usually consists simply of the sauce and fish, while in Bangkok, pickled bamboo, green beans, "wing beans", Thai eggplants and pumpkin are often added. My favorite variant includes jackfruit seeds or cashews. Here is the artfully garnished dish before I crammed it into my greedy gob: