Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Food Pairings – Shellfish Omelet w/ Ripe Puerh Tea
The name of the Thai food stall Nai Mong Hoi Thod translates to "Mr Mong's Fried Shellfish". The signature dishes are the oyster omelet (middle) and the mussel omelet (right). For those with an eye for detail you may notice my blue thermo in the background. A hot steaming cup of ripe puerh tea together with Mr Mong's fried shellfish omelets is a match made in heaven!
I was exploring the Chinatown area in Bangkok and came across Nai Mong Hoi Thod by accident. It is a little food heaven offering gastronomical pleasure. Seeing locals partake in the food shows that the food has gotten the thumbs up from the local community. The omelets are delicious and price friendly at under US$3.00 per dish. The seating arrangement is simple and Spartan which is typical of many street side food stalls in the area.
Some prep work beforehand. Ripe puerh tea is very forgiving as the leaves do not contain harsh astringency and bitterness making it ideal for long steeps. I use a teabag that has a fold over top for containing the tea leaves. The ratio of tea to water for my blue thermo is 1 teabag (at 4 to 5 grams depending on the potency of the tea) for approx. 650ml hot water. My preparation consists of a double rinse and subsequently topping up the thermo with hot water.
The shellfish omelets have a delicate and savory taste. The batter has a wonderful texture of soft gooey goodness on the inside and a perfect crisp around the edges. The oysters are lightly cooked keeping them moist and juicy. The mussels are more integrated with the batter and are made crispier with more crunch. The mussel omelet is served with fresh bean sprouts underneath. The oiliness of both dish pairs wonderfully well with ripe puerh. The light umami flavor of the omelets does not seek to overpower the tea but complements and enhances the brew. The tea's sweetness becomes more pronounced, the subtle nuances of taste and aroma becomes more alive on the palate under the influence of the oil. Finishing off the last bite and washing away the last remnants of omelet with hot tea we set off on a new course - dessert :)