Adam Erace reviews South Philly’s Ratchada
From Cafe de Laos to Ratchada, the South Philly Thai/Lao haven may have changed its name, but to Erace, it’s still bringing the heat—both literally and metaphorically.
…the heat of the crushed red chilies colliding with the sweet of palm sugar, sour of lime juice and salty of fish sauce and peanuts in the chaotic harmony that underscores Thai cooking. They flamed the tom zap, the lemony soup from the north poured over chopped spare ribs that separated from their bones like bananas from their peels, and the tom kha, the quenching coconut soup from the south best provisioned with tender curls of pink shrimp. They electrified the laab duck, finely minced bits of tender meat, unctuous fat and candy-shell skin greened with cilantro and scallion, blended with bell pepper, red onion, pineapple, lime, fish sauce and roasted sticky rice — an uncommon ingredient made from roasting raw grains with lemongrass, kaffir-lime leaves and galangal and grinding the mix into a toasty herbal gunpowder. The flavorful, dynamic mix was piled over lettuce, though to call it a salad would be like calling a T. rex a lizard.
Ratchada Brings Together the Big Flavors of Thailand and Laos [City Paper]
Ratchada [Official Site]