Dish No. 7: Crispy Chinese Watercress Salad at Sripraphai
Today's pick: Crispy Chinese watercress salad ($9.50) at Sripraphai (64-13 39th Avenue, Woodside, Queens, 718-899-9599)
Found among the appetizers, the crispy watercress salad is probably like no Thai food you've ever tasted before -- tart, fishy, wildly spicy, and topped with dried red chiles and toasted cashews. The watercress itself has been lightly battered and fried -- and who ever heard of frying watercress before? Not even in Wisconsin or Texas, where they will fry almost anything. The salad also contains shrimp, and, in one version, chicken and squid, too.
Sripraphai is the city's most venerable Siamese resetaurant, beginning two decades ago as a simple bakery, and mutating, first into a cafe, then into a full-blown restaurant with an annoying color scheme. No matter, the food will transport you right to Thailand.
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