from The New York Times
But there's one thing you can almost bank on seeing every single meal in Thailand, no matter what you order: nam prik.
It literally means "fluid chile," and that's exactly what it is -- a fiery hot chile sauce that's as ubiquitous on Thai tables as salsa at a Mexican restaurant.
Like salsa verde, nam prik is kind of a catchall term. The sauce can be thick and chunky or thin and pureed. Nam prik can even be a paste or almost dry, like a powder. It can include any number of ingredients -- garlic, lime, onion and, of course, hot chiles.
What really distinguishes nam prik, though, is that it usually includes dried shrimp or shrimp paste or some other preserved fish. That -- along with fish sauce, which is also a fairly universal ingredient in nam prik -- gives the sauce its telltale funky undertones. (If you're making nam prik, and at some point you recoil from the fermented, fetid odor, congratulations! You're doing it right!)
We're probably making nam prik sound more out there than it really is. Really, it's just a zesty chile salsa with an umami undertone.
And turns out? It's delicious on a steak.