Neighborhood Eats: Crispy Papaya Salad at Thailand's Center Point

Lauren Glassberg with this week's Neighborhood Eats at a Thai establishment in Woodside, Queens. (WABC)
April 25, 2014 3:13:22 PM PDT
In the melting pot of New York, it's no surprise to find a microcosm of Thailand in Woodside, Queens.

For six years, customers have been loyal to "Thailand's Center Point" on 39th Avenue, where the cooking is done by the owner herself ? Annie Phinphantthakul.

The menu consists of a mix of traditional items and innovative twists.

There are the customary dishes, such as the jungle curry, fried rice and duck salad. But the restaurant also offers some not-so-familiar Thai dishes, like Pad Thai made with wontons instead of noodles; tofu served popcorn style with a butter sauce and fried papaya salad.

Yet if you can't get enough of the meals at the restaurant, they also sell some basic Thai ingredients for home-cooking.

Thailand's center point
Crispy Papaya Salad

  • 1 Papaya (shredded)
  • 2 Carrots (shredded)
  • 1 cup string beans
  • 1/2 cup baby tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 TBLS lime
  • 1/4 cup Peanuts
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2 TBLS Fish Sauce
  • 3 TBLS simple Syrup
  • 2 Chilis
  • 1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
  • 3 Shrimp (steamed and chilled)
  • 3 pieces Squid (steamed and chilled)
  • Recipe:

  • Mix the2/3 cup All Purpose Flour with ¼ cup water. Run a small handful of the shredded papaya through the flour mix, let batter drip off and bit and sprinkle some of the remaining flour on the papaya before putting into the deep fryer. Fry each small handful and drain on paper towel.
  • Meanwhile, with mortar and pestle grind garlic, peanuts, and chilis. Add lime, simple syrup and fish sauce to finish off dressing. Then take the crispy papaya and put it onto a plate and top it with the raw carrots, raw string beans, steamed shrimp and squid and tomatoes. Top with the dressing and cilantro. Serve!