I am not a stalker. I do not follow Chef Seng around and give her flowers. I have never even asked to see her. I admire her from afar. I am a respectful fan of her cooking. There is no truth to the scurrilous rumor I have a shrine to her in my kitchen and that I keep a download of the Bangkok Golden Thai food on my laptop for planning my next meal at her fine Thai food and Lao food restaurant, located in the center of the octopus arms of roads that is Seven Corners in Northern Virginia.
OK, the previous is a damn lie. I do have a download of the Bangkok Golden Thai food and Lao food menus on my laptop. The classics require study. A visit to the holy place requires reverent preparation. Given the frequency with which I visit Bangkok Golden (three times in a week), I like to be prepared. Respect must be shown and the minimum three-hour meal time is inviolate. The Thai food and Lao food must be savored, the servers interviewed, my jokes in Thai recited, photographs of me sweating in various Thai kitchens shown to the servers. It takes time, so I just hand the server a piece of paper with the menu items written on it for ease and efficiency of ordering.
My charming dining companion Ms. P. was satisfied with this arrangement until the Painful Papaya Salad of Death Incident that occurred last week. Since the chile-soaked papaya salad allegedly cauterized her mouth and caused temporary blindness, she has been less inclined to blindly let me order the spiciest Thai food and Lao food.
During the most recent visit to this Thai food and Lao food cathedral, faithful dining companion Ms. P. independently ordered the Ping Moo (also known as Moo Ping) or Marinated and Grilled Pork with Dipping Sauce. Ms. P. was so darn proud of herself with the beauty and balanced spicy and salty flavors of this dish that she is insisting that she be served this dish frequently. So I will prepare it this weekend. Prepare, Ms. P. for more delights! And I promise not to use too many chiles, at least on the portion I serve you.
During our visit on Sunday, we noticed prominent signs that the restaurant would be closed for a staff holiday the entire week! Grief, anger, shock, and then acceptance was our reaction. Everyone deserves a break. We are strong. We will survive. We are tough people. We will make these great Thai dishes at home and trust our Thai and Lao server friends can get some well deserved rest.