There is bar food and there is drinking food. Bar food tends to center around the deep fryer and the reheating of frozen goods within, and it can certainly be delicious, and also horrible.
Drinking food, on the other hand, is designed to be a foil against your beverage, a complement. The beverage enhances the food, the food the beverage, and everyone has a good time.
This is not a recipe for chicken wings, or for putting pretzels in a bowl. But it is an amazing, and unbelievably simple, snack that you certainly need to make the next time you bust out the bottle opener.
The recipe is called Kai Saam Yang, and I first learned about it at the Whiskey Soda Lounge, a member of the Pok Pok empire, and I wanted to eat nine portions all by myself. The name translates to "Chicken Three Ways," though there is no chicken involved. And while it consists of Thai flavors, what amazes me most is its versatility. The snack tastes equally awesome with beer, a highball or cocktail, or even a neat dram of whiskey.
It's important to note the simplicity here. This is, in its most basic form, a bowl of bar peanuts. But coupling that standard with a few aromatics really takes it somewhere else entirely, providing a flavorful, salty backbone to any libation.
Here's how to make it.
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, tender inner layers only
- 1 purple shallot, finely diced
- 1/4 cup of roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Remove the woody outer layers and green parts of the lemongrass, then split it in half and chop finely. Mix with the peanuts and shallots in a bowl, and enjoy.
What's your favorite snack to enjoy with a drink? Let us know in the comments below.