Kaya, a coconut egg spread, is a coffee-shop favorite in Singapore and Malaysia. Some versions are browner, owing to caramelized sugar, and jamlike in texture; some, such as the Thai-style sangkhaya in this khanom pan ping ($5), take a green color and faint herbal flavor from pandan leaves and have a very smooth, custardlike texture. This uncaramelized style tends to be quite sweet, too, as you'd imagine. Pok Pok's pan-toasted "soldiers" were just precisely crisp enough to serve as swabbing utensils; the serving of sangkhaya was generous enough that every soldier got his due.
Previously: In some obvious regards, my hoi thawt (at the time, $14) wasn't a ringer for the "broken crepe" served at Bangkok's expansive Aw Taw Gaw wet market. Pok Pok's was fresher-looking and considerably fatter, down to the individual mussel meats. Yet the hoi thawt held together, thanks to a minimal not-too-crispy batter, at least till I had at it.
I don't know what hot sauce was served with that Bangkok hoi thawt, but one wouldn't imagine that Huy Fong sriracha sauce — the ubiquitous American-made "rooster" brand found in squeeze bottles throughout New York — would have many takers in Thailand. Possibly it was the well-balanced Shark brand sriracha, made in Thailand, and served at Pok Pok, too.
Pok Pok Ny 117 Columbia St. (at Kane St.), Brooklyn 718-923-9322 www.PokPokNy.com
This annual event, which benefits culinary programs at the nearby School for International Studies, is also an occasion for participating kitchens to push their usual culinary boundaries. Indeed, several of the soups would fit right in with the new collection of edible mashups from Real Cheap Eats, both for their price ($1 per 4-ounce sample) and for their border-bending sensibilities. Shown: from Nightingale 9, a congee made from nutty Carolina gold rice, with crumbled sausage and biscuit croutons; from Shelsky's, chowder prepared with smoked whitefish; and, from Jolie Cantina, seafood being prepped for a Mexican-inflected bouillabaisse. Also shown: from Provence en Boite, lobster bisque. There's always room for a classic.
Smith Street Soup Festival Smith St. between Atlantic Ave. and 2nd St., Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (The 2013 festival was held on October 19)
"The strawberry is awesome," she said. Sitting on top, in the first photo, that's a good version of maple — a flavor I seek out whenever possible every autumn — but as my server made clear, the pure, slightly sour strawberry is an ice cream for all seasons. Also shown, seeking shelter under a shade tree: a precariously perched scoop of root beer ($5).
Nunu's hot chocolate (small, $4) is made with shavings of 65 percent dark chocolate — some garnish the surface — and frothed steamed milk. Think of it when you're in a mood to drink your dessert, but you want a little bitter with the sweet.
This cherry lime phosphate ($3.95), like the cherry lime rickey, is a New York drink of yore. The rickey, which in some corners of the city has held its place on the menu as an effective countermeasure against spicy food, can be cloying; the lime adds tartness but, sometimes, not enough bite. The phosphate gets its edge from a dash of phosphoric acid, which you'll find in Coke and Pepsi, too. It's less sweet, so as not to distract from the full cherry flavor. That maraschino pales in more than one regard.
There's beet in the salad and the borscht, too. This Eastern European cafe serves more than a dozen superpremium varieties made by Jane's Ice Cream of Kingston, New York, including the bespoke number seen here (small cup, $3). During recipe development, unmitigated beet proved too sweet, and as churned today, the ice cream is tweaked with dill. Next flavor on the docket: apricot orange blossom.
Previously I wrote that this is the only Brooklyn business that carries Jane's. The comment below (thanks, Peter!) points out another place to find them, at least in sandwich form.
Kitchen at Cobble Hill (formerly known as Karloff) 254 Court St. (Kane-Degraw Sts.), Cobble Hill, Brooklyn 347-689-4279 www.KitchenAtCobbleHill.com
Durian doesn't play well with others. The spiky husk requires careful handling, to be sure, but the "king of fruits" is most notorious for the pungency of its custardlike flesh. Few shops make durian ice cream, out of concern that the scent will get into everything.
Because it's made with hefeweizen, a pale wheat beer, and not some darker, stronger brew, this whole-grain beer mustard (about 6 oz., $4) might fade in the presence of heady charcuterie. The texture, however, holds up: While not effervescent, those little mustard grains do pop-pop-pop in your mouth.
Brooklyn Cured This day, at Brooklyn Flea, 1 Hanson Pl., Fort Greene, Brooklyn; see Twitter for other locations 917-282-2221 www.BrooklynCured.com