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Thai Pork, Glass Noodle and Herb Salad (Larb Woon Sen)
The minced-meat salad known as larb is a traditional dish from the Isaan region in northeastern Thailand. The version we make here, known as larb woon sen, features glass noodles (woon sen in Thai) that look almost translucent when cooked. You might find them labeled as bean threads, bean vermicelli or cellophane noodles. Toasted rice powder, or khao kua, is a key ingredient in larb—it contributes unique flavor, absorbs a small amount of the liquid, and brings a bit of crunch and nuttiness to the dish. Larb typically includes Thai ground roasted chilies; to mimic that taste, we toast red pepper flakes. The dish is finished with lots of fresh mint and cilantro. Both the noodles and the ground pork soak up all the contrasting flavors—salty, sour, spicy and herbal.
ounces glass noodles (see headnote)
Boiling water, to soak the noodles