Serious Eats: Recipes

Meat Lite: Thai Cabbage Salad with Chicken

Editor's note: Philadelphia food writers Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond drop by each week with Meat Lite, which celebrates meat in moderation. Meat Lite was inspired by their book, Almost Meatless.

This salad is inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in South Philadelphia, Café de Laos. The restaurant lives at the decidedly unglamorous corner of 11th and Washington, the intersection of numerous immigrant communities; a nexus of authentic carnitas, spaghetti and meatballs, and pho.

One of my earliest food mentors, Susan Waskey, directed my attention to this unexpected gem years ago, and though my travels have taken me to Thai restaurants citywide since then, I keep coming back for the creamy coconut soups, the piquant green curry, the spicy laab tuna.

How the cabbage salad escaped my attention all this time, I have no idea, but I had it for the first time last week. I liked it so much that I tried to replicate it (with a little chicken) for this column. I hope you like it as much as I do. If you make it to Philly, you've got to give Café de Laos a try. Did I mention that it's incredibly budget friendly?

About the author: Joy Manning is the restaurant critic at Philadelphia Magazine. She blogs at

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