That's One Hot Cold Dish
Spicy pork Thai dish with vermicelli noodles. Photo credit: StockFood, ISTL
So eat hot: not hot-to-the-touch hot, but fiery-as-hell-on-the-palate hot.
All around the world, there’s a long-standing tradition of eating spicy foods in hot climates. And while a steaming bowl of ramen can fit the Bikram-level sweat bill—we humans can be perverse that way—even better is a cold hot dish: cool in temperature, hot on the tastebuds.
In Thailand, according to Nong Poonsukwattana of popular Portland, Oregon chicken rice stand Nong’s Khao Man Gai, it is “hot all year, it’s just rain or no rain.” It’s “absolutely” common to eat something spicy when it’s hot outside, she told us, and the classic that first came to mind was yam woon sen, a simple vermicelli noodle dish of ground pork, shrimp, chicken broth, Thai bird’s eye chiles, fish sauce, lime juice, and garlic. In Thailand the dish dots both high-end restaurant and street vendor menus: “Personally I like it super-spicy, but it can be adjusted to preference.”
The heat in this steak and vermicelli noodle salad can be adjusted just the same: If those hot pepper flakes don’t suffice, just mince bird’s eye chiles and toss with noodles before serving. Yow!
Asian Steak and Noodle Salad
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
2 Tbsp. finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 lb. flank steak
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
6 Tbsp. water
6 Tbsp. sugar
6 Tbsp. Asian fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons dried hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (2 medium)
8 oz. dried vermicelli rice-stick noodles*
2 medium Granny Smith apples
7 oz. Asian salad mix (16 cups loosely packed)
1 cup fresh mint leaves, torn into pieces if large
1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts (sometimes labeled “cocktail peanuts”), chopped
Whisk together fish sauce, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Pour marinade into a large sealable plastic bag. Pat steak dry and place in bag, then press out excess air and seal bag. Turn bag over 2 or 3 times to coat meat, then place in a shallow dish (in case of leaks) and chill at least 4 hours and up to 8. Bring steak to room temperature 30 minutes before grilling.