What makes Mom's Siam stand out from other Thai restaurants is its condiments. If Thai food is not already hot enough for you, you can choose from two kinds of chili pepper relishes and a fiery red chili powder. Apparently these are brought from Thailand through the kitchen's own sources. Chris was skeptical of this story. "They probably just got it from Penzey's down the street," she said.
It's an ongoing sore point between us. Chris is a big fan of global consumerism -- by which I mean, she delights in buying products from around the world from big box stores, rejoicing that they are available to her here in America. But for me, this sort of ready availability seems a little flat. Penzey's is a marvelous resource to be sure, offering spices with exotic names from every country you can imagine. But if the spices of the world are compressed into a card catalog of identical containers, aren't they drained of the hills and dips of local context? So who is more romantic: Chris, for believing that cultural finds can be had in a mass produced market? Or me, for believing that there really is a Mom behind Mom's Siam, sending little spice packets from Thailand?
Best dish: Siam Dumpling -- minced pork, shrimp, water chestnut, onion, scallion, shitake wrapped in wonton skin and served with soy sauce.
|Siam Dumpling. You can see the condiment tray in the background.|