Monday, June 04, 2012


Shak trak (beef fried with red onion, tomatoes, and green peppers), Phayul

Tsel momo (vegetable dumplings), Phayul

Shoko sil sil ngoe ma (shredded potatoes with peppers), Phayul

Dear Phayul:

We're sorry. We had heard you were good, sneakily producing Tibetan delicacies from a nondescript second floor restaurant in Jackson Heights, had heard so several times, in fact. And yet we stayed away. We resisted. Too busy snacking on samosa sandies, maybe, or stretching the tensile strength of our waistbands via all-you-can-eat Indian buffets. Excuses, excuses. Please forgive us.

For when we finally climbed your dingy staircase, took a seat beneath a television blaring Himalayan music videos, and tried the shak trak (beef fried with red onions, tomatoes, and green peppers), we realized how wrong we'd been. How do you make the meat so tender? And then the veggie momos arrived, bursting with mashed up salty flavors, and we almost wept with pleasure and gratitude.

But it wasn't until we sampled the shredded potatoes and green chiles known as shoko sil sil ngoe ma that we realized the limitlessness of your forgiveness. Instead of punishing us for our arrogance, withholding your wellspring of deliciousness, you rewarded us with a dish we haven't ceased thinking about in the weeks since that first bite crossed our penitent lips. A spicy fancy hash, a crispy tubery delight, a veritable punch in the face of flavor.   

Thank you,
Jess and Garrett, Your Humble Friends

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