My friend Nick recently organized a dinner at Little Spice in Hanover, MD that focused on Southern Style Thai cuisine. The chef-owner's mother came from that region of the country, and she was excited to make a few specialties from South Thailand.
We started with a set of appetizers. First, we had crispy rice cakes served with a warm shrimp dipping sauce. I've had a version of this dish with pork before. This shrimp version was also very tasty.
Our second appetizer was fish cakes, or Tod Mon, served with crispy Thai basil. We used a sweet chili sauce on top of the bite size cakes.
We followed a generous set of entrees. We had Gang Garee, a Thai yellow coconut curry, with chicken and potatoes. It was like Thai "comfort food" in that it was rich, warm and just pleasant to eat.
My favorite dish was crispy stir fried catfish with curry paste and fried basil leaves.
We also got Naam Prik Gapi, a dish that I have only tried for the first time this year, that being at Bangkok Garden a few months ago. It is a fermented spicy shrimp paste served as a dip or topping for fresh raw veggies like cucumber, eggplant, or squash. While I think most of the table was thrown by the "funky" flavor of the paste, I liked Little Spice's version. While not as spicy, I think I appreciated more subtle flavors in their take of the dish.
We had Southern Thai style fried chicken. It was seasoned with garlic, turmeric, and onion marinade and topped with bits of crispy garlic. Alas, the chicken was a little dry and overdone.
Another favorite of the evening for me was the Khua Kling, a classic Southern Thai dish that took minced pork cooked with dry spicy curry. I loved the hot kick it gave you as you ate more and more of it.
Our last main was a whole fish cooked in a banana leaf. Unfortunately, it was overcooked and too dry. I imagine it's hard when you are making items not usually on the menu.