THIS IS A TRANSLATED VERSION OF THIS SWEDISH POST!
In Thailand you can eat really spicy food. If you like spicy food, that is, not everybody do, and despite of what you might think, not all Thai people do either. However, many Thais eat extremely spicy food and can probably be traced back to the days when you needed something to kill the bacteria. If I have to make a qualified and wild guess.
Pad Thai tasted like pure rubbish
On my first trip to Thailand I didn’t like Thai food, at all. I avoided every Thai food as far as I could, since I thought the food was disgustingly sweet, so most of the times I just ate fried rice. But I’d also like to point out I hadn’t really tasted real Thai food, but only the tourist crap they serve on every tourist shack – tasteless, sweet, icky and incredibly dull. Pad Thai (a dish of fried noodles, a lot of crap, plus a dangerous amount of sugar) is still one of the dishes I really don’t like, but plenty of farangs love it.
Pad Kaprao changed my views on Thai food.
The first time I actually tasted real Thai food and really enjoyed it was when Lina and me stayed in Koh Samui in Pang’s (Linas’ exboyfriend) home, about the same time I was introduced to my fiancee Oh (Pang’s friend). This was in 2010. Pang bought Pad Kaprao to Lina and me, and that really blew our taste buds away! Incredibly delicious. And spicy. A perfect blend.
”The food is not delicious if I’m not crying!”
During the time we stayed in Pang’s home we ate such delicious food, everyday. Homecooked Thai food, take away Thai food, and always spicy, spicy. By the end of the trip Lina, who from the beginning couldn’t go near a chili at all, was of the opinion that “if she wasn’t crying, the food wasn’t delicious”.
Farangs cannot eat spicy food – everyone knows that!
The hardest for a farang ordering food in this country is that Thai people mostly assume you cannot eat spicy food. Even though you explicitly tell them you want the food spicy, the food enters completely tasteless. Some of the times there’s not even a glimpse of a chili in the food, and this is bothering me terribly. Nowadays Oh usually orders the food for me, because then they don’t know who is eating what, and the food usually enters spicy. But should that really be necessary?
Yam Wonsen – my favorite, but preferably also including chili!
If I order Yam wonsen shouldn’t it be assumed I like chili?
If I order dishes considered pretty spicy, dishes including chili, then they should probably understand I like spicy food, shouldn’t they? If I didn’t I would’ve ordered fried vegetables, fried rice or anything else in the tasteless department (not that I don’t enjoy eating those too…).
I feel it’s pretty presumptuous to believe that only Thai people can eat spicy food. I have to admit I cannot eat food as spicy as Oh can, or his grandma, but I like spicy, and I’d like to learn to eat spicier. Every day.
Yam wonsen without chili – what’s up with that?
My absolute favourite dishes are Yam Wonsen and Pad Kaprao, 2 dishes containing a lot of chili, if you prepare them right. One time I ordered a Yam Wonsen and it entered WITHOUT a single chili, but an enormous amount of lime juice. Not so tasty!
I can understand as a restaurant owner you don’t want to give the farangs spicy food, they’re probably afraid of their reputation, or something, but if I’m asking for it, it should be possible, right? Or is it more an attitude of “you don’t know what’s best for you, so I’m not giving you what you want”. Sometimes I get so annoyed with this superior attitude.
The Thai food in Ao Nang was the worst ever!
When in Ao Nang we tried desperately to find eatable food – over there they didn’t prepare the Thai food as Oh and me are used too, and want it. Best case scenario it tasted crap, worst case scenario it tasted like shit, and the times in between it tasted nothing at all. We managed to find some food stalls in the city, and usually street restaurants like these have the best food, and the cheapest, so Oh and me tried to eat here several times, but it never tasted especially good.
Gai Prik – chicken chili!
One of the times I ordered Gai Prik (chicken with chili). Surprisingly enough, there were a few chilis in the dish, but usually I don’t eat them all, because I don’t really like the “fruit” itself, but I enjoy the taste it gives the other ingredients. Since I wasn’t particularly fond of the food, I left some of the chilis and chicken on the plate. The lady who had cooked the food looked at my plate when I payed the bill and giggled mockingly: ”Too spicy for you, huh?” Eeeeeh, what the frack lady! If you’ve only made the food tastier I might’ve eaten it. I just shortly hissed I was full and walked away.
Why presume I order food with chili if I don’t like chili?
Usually I get so annoyed I want to point out to the waiter that hello, there, I did order spicy food, but Oh is such a discreet person he would’ve died if I started to complain about the food. So I’m behaving like a normal, well raised Thai girl, who simply just shuts her mouth and eats her food, despite the tastelessness.
On Valentine’s Day – the restaurant we chose was a disaster!
On Valentine’s Day I wanted something special. I wanted to give Oh the opportunity to not having to cook, so we went to a restaurant. Naturally I wanted a romantic one, by the sea preferably. We found one, in Lamai. Very romantic, indeed – a real tourist restaurant!
I ordered Som Tam, Papaya Salad. Oh doesn’t like to make this one, for some reason, so I thought I could eat it now. OH YEAH! I was so excited.
Well here it came – a Som Tam completely void of chili! I thought I was going to explode. I wanted to shout: “Excuse me, isn’t there something missing in this Som Tam? Where’s the chili?” But Oh didn’t want me to complain, as usual, so I simply grabbed all of his chilis he had in his food and started hacking and mixing them up in my Som Tam. The waiters all stared at me like I was some kind of freak, although I must admit that probably looked kind of freaky! But the result turned out alright, actually pretty tasty, and spicy too!
This was my Valentine’s Day and they couldn’t even give me a decent meal, even though I did specify I wanted a spicy Som Tam! She did say YES to my request, but still told the chef to not add any chilis, apparantly. WHY? I was so mad. It didn’t help I had been hungry for some hours either, since we’ve been driving around for a while, so I was cranky, but still…
Home cooked food taste the best, and the most!
Now when we have our own kitchen I can get spicy food on a daily basis. Oh’s having a hard time constraining himself so the food usually turns out so spicy I hardly cannot eat it, but I’m trying more and more – increasing a little day by day, so soon I’ll be able to go to Buriram and eat food as spicy as the one grandma Mouse is eating.