Green papaya salad

Summer soldiers on here in the South. As I continue to sweat, I’m trying to see the bright side: namely, more opportunities to squeeze everything I can out of salad season before soup season takes its place.

If you’ve gone out for Thai, you’ve probably had green papaya salad. Green papayas are crunchy–more substantial than cucumber but more flexible than, say, a carrot. They somehow taste cold. Look for them in Asian or Mexican grocers.

Plus, this dressing. Thai and Vietnamese food often balances four flavors: sour, salty, spicy, and sweet. This dressing does that, and does it well, with lime juice, fish sauce, red pepper flakes, and sugar.

All of this washed down with a cold beer is the perfect antidote to sultry September evenings. Continue reading “Green papaya salad”


Noodle salad with sautéed peppers, corn, and sesame marinade


After a summer of traveling in places neither as hot nor as humid as the American South, I am back in Virginia. And guess what? The weather is still swampy, and I am once again wilting and lethargic.

In short: it is cold-noodle-and-beer weather.

If it’s hot where you are, if you’re looking for a new cold noodle recipe (I’ve tried some peanut butter-based ones that were great, but not veg-filled enough to justify six servings over a week), or if you’re looking for a vehicle for summer corn, try this. Add whatever veg you want, just be sure to slice thinly and cook as necessary. Continue reading “Noodle salad with sautéed peppers, corn, and sesame marinade”

Ontama bukkake

Yes, the name sounds a bit odd. But when a soft boiled egg breaks over velvety udon and mixes with hot soup on a cold day—who cares what it’s called?


The recipe that follows is my attempt to recreate one of my favorite Sydney foods: the ontama bukkake at Menya Mappen in Sydney. Ever since I moved back to the States (to a place that is Siberia for good Asian food) this memory of this soup haunted my dreams. The smooth udon! The egg yolk! The umami in the broth! So I got to work, and now, with a quick trip to an Asian grocer, this soup can haunt your dreams, too. Continue reading “Ontama bukkake”