Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yum Zap

Yum Zap ("spicy dish" in Thai) is a Thai food cart located at the Good Food Here pod in Portland, Oregon. Headed by a woman named Apple (a wonderful person to talk to, I must say!), this cart stands out for a customer's ability to get a dish as spicy as they want it. After reading several positive reviews on Yelp, I had to check this cart out.

One more thing to note: Apple focuses on Northern Thai cuisine here and does NOT serve Pad Thai.

Menu (mid-November 2011)
(The Gaeng Fuktong was a seasonal special)
I ended up ordering the Gaeng Fuktong seasonal special ($8): a bone-in chicken thigh with pumpkin curry. The curry is coconut milk-based and includes potatoes, basil, and your usual curry spices. Apple asked me how hot I wanted the dish. "How hot have you made it?" was my response. Apple replied that, when she eats this food, she puts in EIGHT red Thai chiles. So heck, eight Thai chiles for me, too!

Apple holding one of the prized red Thai chiles!
Gaeng Fuktong with EIGHT red Thai chiles (Pumpkin Curry and Chicken)
(Yum Zap)
Beautiful presentation. The red chiles represented an angry-mob "protecting" the mellow creamy curry. But I'm a warrior, and I dove right in!

Just absolutely delicious. The creaminess of the coconut milk turns this into a richer, more filling meal. The chicken, which stewed in that curry, was juicy and fell off the bone with ease. The cooked potatoes had a slight bite to them, which I'm fine with (no dissolving potatoes on my tongue here). The basil added some wonderful freshness.

The star for me, of course, was the red Thai chiles. My taste buds woke up here, but I honestly didn't break a sweat. Perhaps I need to just tell Apple to add about 20 more fresh red Thais, plus extract and some dried ghost peppers so I can get my mouth set completely on fire (or get a bad case of heartburn and indigestion a few hours later). Or maybe I should take a trip to Thailand (hey, Apple even suggested it!) and somehow communicate that I want to experience hellish spicy food.

What would make this dish spicier: make the actual broth or sauce very spicy. Here, only the Thai chiles brought any heat. The pumpkin curry was a seasonal item, and one may have to wait until next year to get it. But in the meantime, check out Apple's other dishes! (Again, don't get me wrong, this was a delicious curry and I'd definitely order it again...even spicier!)

Yum Zap lives up to its name. It's yummy, and you can zap your taste buds dead if you wish! 8.5/10

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