Endorphin rush, tears streaming down my face as I write this. HR 90. RR 25. 9/10 on the pain scale.
Upon recommendation from a friend from school, this afternoon I spontaneously took a little drive up to Lynn, to this unassuming, dusty little generic "Oriental Food Market" in Market Square. This is a Laotian market. Not sure if I was in the right place, I meekly told the cashier I'd like some home made papaya salad. He smiled back at me and I was summoned toward the area in the back, where this lovely older lady (owner?) grinned and asked me how spicy I'd like it.
After we did some back-and-forth bargaining, "Really? are you SURE you want it that spicy?" "you say you've had it before?" / "Is this for you or someone else?" she finally began chopping and stirring and grinding in her mortar and pestle, a dash of fish sauce here, a squeeze of lime there, a sprinkle of chilies everywhere.
She was so so so kind, and so delighted that I took interest in her food. While I was at the register paying for it ($6 for a container, freshly made), she runs back up with a fork, and insists I try it, to make sure it's to my liking.
I take a first bite, as they watch me eagerly… WOWEEEEEE! Unbelievable! The balance! It's what I've spent years been looking for! The elegant balance of sweet and sour and chili and spice and salty and fishy and KERPOWWW, now there are tears running down my cheeks. I take my goods (plus a styrofoam container of sticky rice), and I ended up sitting in my car, recovering, inspecting this stuff, to see what hit me, before hitting the road back to Boston.
Get yourself over there! This is a real find! The couple running the shop couldn't have been nicer.
Oriental Food Market
30 Market Square