"It's not much but it's ours"

Thursday, September 11, 2008


What is it about young folk and offal?

Perhaps it is the fact that it actually tastes of something or perhaps it is the fact that the new wave of foodies have been brought up in a world where their meat comes in cellophane wrapped choice cuts with no direct indication that it ever originated from anything which mooed, baaed, bleated of oinked.

Talk about eating offal to most young folk these days and you open yourself up to the charge of “doing a Bourdain” eating something for bravado rather than taste.

Complete tosh of course. In the rest of the world, where people often don’t have the luxury of choosing prime bits of the animal and turning the rest into pet food, offal is not just a necessary staple, but a pre-requisite of many recipes from the stuffed lamb’s intestines of Istanbul, the Beef tendon soups of Hong Kong and the Pani Ca Meusa of Palermo, where lung and spleen come together in perfect sandwich harmony.

I could go on naming countries where offal is essential, but why bother as, in the end, as HP puts it “who gives a f**K if the kids don’t like it, it leaves all the more for us”

I thought about this as I enjoyed a simple Thai meal with my friends, food writers William Leigh and Neil Davey yesterday at Thai Rice on The Portobello Road. The best dish of the meal was a salad of crunchy pig’s ears with cucumber and a spicy sauce. It took me back to my short time in Bangkok with its sharp flavours and unusual textures.

In truth, the rest was more standard, a passable Pad Thai, a dish of glass noodles with prawn and a version of duck red curry neutered so as not to offend the locals. Only a Mee Krob was actively bad with little resemblance to the sublime version I tried at Chote Chitr on my journeys (pictured below yesterday's dreaful version), this version lacked any of the elements of my favourite Thai dish.

For £20 a head including a handful of beers, it represented decent lunchtime value and a good place to catch up and discuss ideas, but it is only a shame they don’t have the courage or the customers to try more dishes including the best bits of the beast.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

have you been to esarn kheaw in shepherd's bush for notheastern thai? very good one.


Friday, September 12, 2008 9:18:00 am  
Blogger tim_g said...

101 thai kitchen out in hammersmith!! that's by far the best. much better than esarn. and you never read anything abt it

Friday, September 12, 2008 1:28:00 pm  
Blogger Bombay Beauty said...

As a vegetarian I (surprisingly?) agree with you. If you're going to eat animals, eat them honestly and respectfully. For myself, I'm happy to pass, but I find nothing worse than people who ewwww at eating an animal or part thereof rather than the prepackaged and familiar.

This reminds me of a friend of mine who stopped eating bass after he started scuba diving -- he said he could eat them any more because they're like puppies and love to play with you. I suggested he eat puppies instead.


Sunday, September 14, 2008 2:07:00 pm  
Blogger Lizzie said...

People always shudder when I say I do like tripe. Then again I wouldn't have survived long being brought up in Hong Kong if I was offal-phobic! All the better for it - those so called prime cuts of fillet steak, chicken breast etc don't compare in flavour to the rest of the beasts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 5:14:00 pm  

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