I had the great fortune of living right next to Thai Town when I used to call Los Angeles home. There was a restaurant that served amazing drunk food called Hollywood Thai. With a name like that, one probably wouldn't expect much. We are, after all, talking about drunk food, and a place that serves beer — ahem, "tea" — surreptitiously in teapots after 2 a.m., when all other bars have closed by law in the city of angels.
One of my favorite dishes there was a traditional northeastern Thai dish from the region of Chiang Mai called larb (also spelled laab). It's a "salad" in the sense that it comes with a wedge of cabbage. What you're supposed to do with this cabbage isn't apparent at first until someone at the table puts two and two together and breaks off a leaf of cabbage and uses it as a spoon.
Commonly found at many Thai restaurants worth visiting, I swore by Hollywood Thai's rendition of the dish, which was inexplicably addictive. Well, perhaps not inexplicable — my version here is missing the key ingredient, MSG.
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