111 - Thai Taste Bud Tune-up

By Mary Luz Mejia

If you're focussed and willing, you'll notice every mouthful of most Thai dishes reveals the key to Thai cooking; an intricate balance of flavours. No less than five fundamental elements -- spicy, sour, sweet, salty and bitter, go into the creation of this harmonious flavour profile.

While many dishes embrace this goal, one of the top contenders would have to be the ubiquitous green mango salad. Made with under-ripened mangos, this salad is a refreshing start to any Thai meal and it's found in almost every Thai restaurant. 

Green mango saladBut not all mango salads are created equal. Take for example Lemongrass Thai Restaurant's version of the salad. Chef/proprietor Aungkoon Sriospit's version is a precise study in the craft of Thai cooking -- putting those tepid, flavourless versions to shame. Julienned mango strips are tossed with chopped mint leaf, red onion, slivered carrot, red pepper and roasted peanuts in a mildly spicy dressing.

Red Thai chilis work their way into the dressing for the spice component, as does Thai fish sauce which permeates the dish with a salty note. The under-ripened mangos lend the dish a simultaneous burst of sweet and sour, while raw chopped onion and mint leaf impart a delicately bitter undertone.

You may well have eaten this salad without knowing you're eating under-ripe mangos -- which at first may sound unpalatable, but one or two bites later you'll likely change your mind. Besides, where else in Etobicoke can you tune up your taste buds on dishes carefully prepared by a former engineer turned chef from Bangkok?

Lemongrass Thai Restaurant
Etobicoke, Ontario

Click here for video