In a recent post, we discussed Larb, a well-known spicy meat salad , originating from Laos. It is a zesty, often warm, salad, made with chicken, beef, duck, fish, pork or even mushrooms. The chili, onion, fish sauce, lime juice, vegetable, lemon, roasted ground rice (khao khua) and kaffir lime leaves that go into it create a signature taste that is well-loved. Thais and foreigners alike love this salad with fresh vegetables and sticky rice.
Larb ped (Thai spicy duck salad)
Nam tok, sister-salad to Larb
Very similar to Larb, yet still different is Nam Tok. In Thai language, Nam Tok means waterfall. You may wonder why a dish is being called waterfall? It is said that when grilling meat, you know it is ready when you hear the sizzling sound of the juices running out of the meat, like a waterfall!
Nam Tok Nuea (Thai Beef Salad)
Traditionally, this type of salad is made with beef (neua), so we call it Neua Nam Tok. Unlike larb, raw meat is not used to cook nam tok. Nam tok is prepared by adding shallots, lime juice, onion, mint leaves, cilantro and fragrant roasted ground rice (khao khua) to grilled meat sliced to bite-size pieces. The result is a juicy salad with a tangy, spicy sauce that is quite a hit! (Nam Tok can also refer to a soup that is served in many street food stalls that make noodles. The flavor is different than the salad of the same name).
Nam Tok Beef (Thai Beef Salad)
Nam Tok can typically be found where Larb is sold and most Isaan, Northeastern Thai foods.