Bangkok Chef: Chicken Larb

Yeah, what's a larb?

My quest to eat every item on the menu at Bangkok Chef is in full swing, sorta. No longer content to munch on my BC favorites -- chicken curry and chicken cashew nut -- I stepped out of the comfort zone for a second time this week.

Never heard of chicken larb before. Had no idea what it would taste like. I dug in anyway after covering the Punahou-HBA volleyball match on Thursday.

Looks so ordinary and bland, even. So not true, though. I can always eat the jasmine brown rice. So ono, nice texture. But the larb was so surprising. First, there's the scent of fish sauce -- and I'm not familiar with hum ha (or any of its Asian relatives) at all. Then there's the vinegary taste. Neither is overpowering in itself.

With the basil and chili peppers, all the flavors complement each other. Yes, they are potent separately or combined, which is why that wedge of cabbage was so perfect. I mean, before I dug in, I kinda thought it was pretty goofy to have that cabbage there. Yet, I knew there had to be some kind of genius behind the visual madness. A mouthful of larb and rice, then a bite of crisp, neutral cabbage to cleanse the palate a bit.

There was so much! I couldn't finish this plate in one sitting, so better yet. It made for a great late-night snack a couple nights later.

The more I try new stuff at Bangkok Chef, the more I'm blown away.