Smell Ya Later

This Delicious Thai Dish May Alienate You At Work

There's plenty to like about pad sar-tor ... except the odor.

By Timothy Malcolm April 23, 2019

Lucky for you, this is just a visual medium.

Readers, I'm that co-worker

I'm the guy who brought that lunch to his desk—you know, the one that stinks to high heaven. How do I know? After finishing the meal I left my desk for a few minutes, and when I returned the door closest to my desk had been opened wide. Need more proof? My co-workers were on Slack wondering what is that smell? There's no denying that.

Heck, I knew what I was bringing into the office. I had read about the pad sar-tor at Vieng Thai

Yes, reader, I brought pad sar-tor to the office. For those who don't know what pad sar-tor is, it's a specialty of southern Thailand of shrimp and beans (the sar-tor) sautéed in chili paste, typically accompanied by more protein (in this case, ground pork). The thing is the fava-sized green beans are potent little buggers—stink beans, in fact. According to a piece by the great Robb Walsh, "they smell like furniture polish." Robb's piece was right on point.

For me, the odor didn't detract from what was a delicious Vieng Thai meal. The paste, as it was, had a thinner consistency like a chili-flecked broth, coating every last bit of pork with a satisfying, lightly numbing heat. The beans were snappy and filling, too. I wish I had even more of them, and the same goes for the shrimp—Vieng Thai only put two in my dish, which was disappointing. 

Still, I was glad to dump a generous pile of sticky rice into the dish, mix it all up, and enjoy every last bite of the pad sar-tor. But if you get some yourself: just, you know, eat it at home; don't be that co-worker.

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