Everyone thinks the Thais eat a majority of noodles and curries, and sure, those two dominate a lot of menus. But for my money, I’ll take a nuanced Thai salad anytime. Often called larb or nam, these complex salads of vegetables, herbs and citrus often have many of the same hallmarks: lime juice and fish sauce are givens, offering that sour and salty components I crave; peanuts or crunchy papaya will provide plenty of crunch, while shallots, lemongrass and young ginger (galangal) will add lovely aromatics along with the fresh cilantro or mint.
The nam sod in particular is one of my favorites, as it relies on ground pork to support, and eventually absorb, all of the wonderful flavors still to come. Thai Pastry in Uptown is sometimes, unfairly, thought of as only a sweets shop, due to its name. They also have a second location in Harwood Heights. But their savory items are all pretty impressive, including this salad, which I could eat any time of the day, and not need a curry or a pad Thai to follow it up with.