Scrumptious nuggets of resilient duck, almost like a cross between pork and lamb, but not quite; pungent herbs like mint and scallion; a tart dressing that assaults the tongue and produces a pucker; red onions providing a lingering sweetness; and a token amount of crudités such as sliced cukes and cabbage leaves, reminding us that, in the Isaan region of northwest Thailand — right across the Mekong River from Laos — spicy ground meat salads are most often used as dibs for raw vegetables.
This magnificent version is to be found at Zabb Elee, the first restaurant in Manhattan to make it unnecessary to sojourn to Queens for Isaan food (even though a handful of dishes were already available in the finger-shaped borough, at places like Pam Real Thai Food and, yes, Lotus of Siam).
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