The Shellfish, Shredded Cabbage Thai Dish of Your Dreams in Philly

Talay Chae Nam Pla at Kalaya in Philadelphia, PA.
Talay chae nam pla at Kalaya in Philadelphia, PA. Image courtesy of Kalaya.

I would happily gnaw on an oven mitt drenched in nam jim—a pert, garlicky Thai condiment made of freshly squeezed lime juice, fish sauce, and a few supporting actors—so it’s just as well that Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranontosses tosses hers with sweet, plump scallops and pillowy raw shrimp in a recent addition to the menu at Philadelphia restaurant Kalaya. Talay chae nam pla, the resulting dish, is a fiery, intoxicating construction that will have you dredging its cilantro-radish garnish through the pool of leftover liquid once you’ve extracted every last piece of shellfish and shred of cabbage. To soothe the roof of your mouth if, like me, you go insanely hard on the slices of raw, marinated Thai chili that crown each scallop, order the moo yaang prik, a Berkshire pork chop charred and then glazed with a sticky balm of palm sugar and tamarind. And a beer slushy wouldn’t kill you, either. For an easier time nabbing a seat, scour Resy for a solo bar stool. On weeknights, there are plenty on offer beginning around 9 p.m.


Ella Quittner is a screenwriter and Family Style‘s writer-at-large. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Man Repeller, Bon Appétit, and across many group chats.