It's the Frodo's ring of food reviewers: The "secret," non-English menu, be it in Mandarin or urdu. In this week's "Eat" review for SF Weekly
, restaurant critic Jonathan Kauffman turns all Gollum, finding ― and with the help of translators, cracking ― the all-Thai menu at Chabaa
in the Outer Sunset. Kauffman single-mindedly probes the menu's Isaan offerings:
In the realm of the pungent is Chabaa's gaeng som, "orange curry," a simple market-stall stew soured with tamarind and tomato, sweetened with palm sugar, and thickened and intensified with pounded, salted fish.... The funk of the gaeng som ― savory rather than foetid ― rolled out of our tureen when [the server] lifted the lid; the flavor was at once brash and hypnotic, and when my translator lifted a spoonful to his mouth, he shuddered and smiled, nostalgia gratified.
Read Kauffman's review in its entirety at SFWeekly.com. Then, to gratify your own sense of the authentic, click back to SFoodie to scan Chabaa's Thai menu illuminated with English notations.