Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mom's Siam: Richmond Bucket List #4*

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.

*Note: As a result of "On Fumes Alone", Chris created a bucket list of Richmond restaurants for us to visit. This is the fourth of such visits. For a full list of visits, click here.

Mom's Siam on Urbanspoon


Fairlington Blade said...

I just returned from a trip to Penzey's in Falls Church, so I suppose I've planted my flag. I also don't think that

But fear not! The quest for authenticity remains. I have never had tropical fruit as good as the ones I get when visiting in-laws in Costa Rica. Or tuna that matched my friend who went off shore fishing (except for when the restaurant owner of East Coast Grill & Raw Bar had in fresh tuna from a friend).

I'll go for a mixed approach. Local, fresh ingredients and variety from everywhere. And I still prefer American garlic.


Antoinette Ego said...

Your comment made me smile. I agree, of course.