We continue to explore the "Thai" menu at Yum Thai and also earn the the trust of their very limited staff. As so often, a bit of knowledge only leads to questions.
1) We had the "crying tiger" beef. Foodfirst's translation notes that the name of this dish comes from the fatty meat that "cries" as it grills. Yum Thai in fact used extremely fatty meat for this dish. The meat, however, was amazingly chewy. Nearly beyond our ability to masticate. My question, I remember reading how all Asians (including Thai) appreciate much more, texture than us Americans. Is this dish supposed to be really tough, or is it a question of Yum Thai using less than steller meat?
2) Between talking about nam prik things and my recent meal at world famous Lotus of Siam, I am getting some idea of regional Thai food. For instance, they told me at Yum Thai that the eggplant style nam prik as we got at Thai Aree was typical of Bankgok; whereas dipping with pork rinds (chicharron) are very Northern style. As I famously learned from RST, Northern style Thai is NOT Issan. Now, the folks at Yum Thai have said they come from near Bangkok, and that their food is not *that* spicy, but that Issan is really where you find the heat (they also said that papaya salad gets served at nearly every Issan meal). Still, Yum Thai serves several Issan dishes (the papaya salad, Issan sausage, etc.) from the "Thai" menu.
My question, and Yum Thai seems to have a dedicated Thai clientele, do Thai resturants around town offer multi-regional menus because their Thai customers come from all over the country, or do they serve regional dishes because Thai people just like to eat dishes from around the country.
3) In the same vein, do Thai people seek regionaly authentic places? Is this like Chinese resturants where regional places hold appeal. Then, obviously, are there any places in Chicago that offer a primarily regional approach to Thai food. By this I mean, for instance, not just some Issan dishes, but mostly Issan dishes. Now I understand that all places are going to offer national dishes and that all places are going to make adjustments for non-Thai audiences. I would like to know if there are places that make few adjustments.