Tuesday, January 15, 2008

AP's Seafood Cove - the saga continues...

1400 John Harden Dr, Jacksonville AR * (501) 982-0791

One of my favorite places to eat, and not for the reason you'd think.

As I've mentioned before, AP's by all appearances is a seafood buffet with catfish and shrimp and fried clams. But the Thai food really steals the show and that's what I look forward to eating when I go there.

On a recent visit, the owner told me that she had a surprise and she brought us each out a bowl of steamed rice and a plate of salad. She told me that it was tuna salad the way they fix it in Thailand. The flavor was amazing and the fiery heat of the dish told me immediately why it was served with the rice. On some dishes they tone the heat back for the American palate, but this one was obviously made for the cook's own consumption and I think was very authentic. I am grateful for the opportunities to try these things. While on that visit, Panne told me that they were going to make chicken-rice that Friday and that I should come back.

It's really funny, but just a few nights before that I was watching Anthony Bourdain talking about Singapore and the fights people there have over who makes the best chicken rice. I wasn't about to miss an opportunity to eat something like that without having to leave central Arkansas!

This dish is made by cooking a hen all day and then using the broth to cook the rice and make an accompanying soup. The chicken is chopped up across a bed of the flavorful rice and comes with the usual cucumbers and cilantro sprigs. First you spoon on some sauce made with black beans, soy sauce, ginger and garlic (maybe some fish sauce?) and you eat a bite of chicken and rice and then you eat a spoonful (or two) of the soup. Back and forth. Tempting as it is to just eat all of one and then start on the other, I dutifully followed instructions and ate it the way I was told to.

I can see this being a wonderful social tradition, everyone gathered around the table eating and talking and drinking. Next time you have it, call me, okay?


At 3:13 PM , Blogger Duke said...

And so, by way of this post, last Tuesday changed my perception of Jacksonville forever. It is now the Thai capitol of the mid south.

Could Ms. Pannee be any nicer? No. Could the food be any more authentic? No. My "food weirdo" buddy Wade and I consider ourselves very adventurous, but Pannee was throwing some stuff at us that took my taste buds into uncharted territories.

A plane ticket to Thailand during the "low season" is about $1100. There is always Jacksonville.


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