IDENTITY CRISIS

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Khao soi – curry noodles with chicken, pickled mustard, shallots, crispy noodles, cilantro, and lime

Recently I’ve been reading a lot about matters of authenticity and what it means in the food experience. Since about ninety nine percent of the food I make is borrowed from foreign cuisines that I have about zero first hand experience with, this of course has prompted something of an existential dilemma. How am I supposed to know if it’s the real thing if I’ve never seen the real thing before?

Reading the Wiki entry on khao soi didn’t help with matters when putting this together. Nowadays this soup can be found throughout Thailand, but there’s debate over whether it originally came from Burma or China. And even today there are marked regional variations between the Lao/Isan version and the northern Thai one. Most of the recipes I found were closer to the Thai, but even within those there were still many differences. I finally arrived at something of a medium between them all, producing a savory combination of sour, spicy, and creamy. But made in a home kitchen in cold, rainy New England by a self-professed amateur, is it still khao soi or is it something else? 

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