7 at 82nd St.-Jackson Heights; M, R at Elmhurst Ave.
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Thai dishes are often neutered to appease Americans’ pad-thai preferences, but not here. On a sleepy Elmhurst block, family recipes are served with a blissful disregard for tamer palates, while the pork-heavy menu lists items not found at most spots around town. To start, e-sarn sausage comes in savory slices with small piles of bright red hot peppers, thin flakes of ginger and peanuts to roll into lettuce wraps or eat alone. Further off the beaten path is an ever-so-slightly-sweet soup of beef tendon, chewy and soft, and, if you order it “dark,” seasoned with pig’s blood. Salads are heaps of matchstick-sized strips of mango or papaya spiced to the hilt with scorching chilies. Tamp down the heat by gulping chilled young-coconut water then start on the pork leg entrée—skin-on hunks of tender meat that soak the accompanying mound of rice with brown jus. From a not-to-be-missed panang curry, the distinct scent of Kafir lime leaves calls out to anyone who’s been to Bangkok. When it’s in season, insist on the mango sticky rice for dessert; otherwise you’ll have to settle for some firm coconut pudding or deep-fried bananas.Recommended Dishes
E-sarn sausage, $8; dark beef tendon soup, $9; panang curry, $9; pork leg, $9