68 Clinton St (between Stanton St and Rivington St, LES)
Fatty Kat Eats: Green Mango Salad, Khao Soi, Whole Fried Fish, Tom Yum Fish Ball Soup, Green Rice Crusted Dorade, Coconut Rice, Halo Halo
So this hipster Southeast Asian restaurant, Pig & Khao, is one that I would love to hate. I just can't! It's hard for me to respect Asian food cooked by non-Asians, but I certainly got over that here. The food is so damn good. I've been back about 4 or 5 times now, and I live in NYC, home to 123,456,879 restaurants and counting.
On my first trip, we started out with some fun drinks: Nancy's young coconut (steep at $8), Lilly's watermelon juice and my Sweet and Sour Cilantro Soda. The homemade soda sounded weird, so I had to try it. While I didn't hate it, I didn't love it either. The cilantro and bubbly concoction was certainly thirst-quenching, but there was something a little salty and metallic about it.
The Green Mango Salad with chicken was mind-blowing! It was kind of like a Thai papaya salad, plus some! The chicken was juicy and tender, and the cashews added another texture and richness to the dish. The green mango balanced out the hefty lemongrass flavor. For a while, we thought we were eating pork, but the chicken was just THAT rich.
There was no way we weren't getting the dish that makes up half the restaurant's name--Khao Soi. This beautiful bowl of crispy egg noodles melted into a creamy curry broth, which was cut with a little lime juice. Although these noodles will give you the spicy sweats, just order yourself a coconut and enjoy it like you're on a gorgeous beach in Thailand.
Everything at this restaurant is meant for sharing, particularly, the Whole Fried Fish. Don't waste food ordering course by course and person by person. Thai foodies will devour this freshly fried fish in a smooth tom yum broth. Besides just looking pretty cool, this entree kept us coming back for more. Just that good. The veggies, oyster mushrooms, cilantro and Thai basil were crucial for optimum deliciousness. I definitely felt like I was at one of those sweaty little restaurants in Bangkok.
On another occasion, we ordered the Green Rice Crusted Dorade. BAM! I just changed your life. It looks like someone dyed rice krispies green and glued them onto a fish filet. Sure, but this masterpiece was a little more complicated than that. The gentle sweetness from the glutinous green rice really softened the dish. The pure clam broth also painted a stark contrast with the heavy fish and Chinese sausage.
On my last trip back to the holy land (that is, Pig & Khao), they replaced the Whole Fried Fish with the Tom Yum Fish Ball Soup. Fish balls are just plain weird, but they actually worked in this wonderful bowl of soup noodles. The tom yum broth had a little coconut milk to fatten up the flavors and our waistlines.
Look at this picture. What do you see? What may look like a simple bowl of white rice could really be a bowl of rainbows, unicorns and Christmas morning disguised as Coconut Rice. If you know me at all…….I LOVE COCONUT ANYTHING. That's why I love going to Southeast Asia or the Carribbean/Latin American countries for food and fun. Pig & Khao has the best coconut rice I've ever had...so rich and buttery. #fatty
The Halo Halo is the perfect way to end the meal. There's almost too much going on, but it turns into one icy disco party in your mouth. The shaved iced was topped with ube ice cream (purple yam), leche flan, macapuno (fleshier coconut) and pinipig (immature glutinous rice). Yes, I had to google all that too. This is as foreign as it gets. Me love.
Pig & Khao = favorite restaruant in 2013 thus far. Also, check out my work below: