(This venue is closed.) $11 may seem dear for papaya Pok Pok, Isaan style, but the price for this spicy green papaya salad includes a $2.50 supplement for dry chilies, the fermented fish sauce here called plaa raak, and salted black crab. That small carapace just barely covered a cherry tomato.
Gathered in Thailand's flooded rice fields, these paddy crabs — they're not marine crustaceans — are rare in New York. Last I looked, for a similar salad Zabb Elee employed domestic blue crab. But if the dainty black crab's main attraction is that it can be eaten shell and all, reportedly the practice in Isaan territory, perhaps the blue will retain my favor.