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Friday, December 30. 2016
In my limited experience with Thais (limited to restaurants in the US only), they are efficient, entrepreneurial, and pleasant polite people with excellent smiles, beautiful gals, and good English. I welcome all immigrants from Thailand, but I am not sure why they come here.
I am ordering a Thai delivery tonight (Penang Curry, Clear Broth Noodle Soup, Thai Salad, extra white rice, extra hot sauce on the side). Cultural appropriation - bring it on!
A close family member has been spending Christmas week in Thailand. My father-in-law, who has visited Thailand, warned them about ordering the amazing food over there: "They give you a choice of Not Spicy, Spicy, Very Spicy, and "Local." He said "Never ask for the "local."" He said the "Not spicy" is hot enough for the average lame American person but if you want to prove your toughness, just order Spicy and take it from there.
An email from a beach in Phuket:
Some of the food pics below the fold - the last one looks mysterious but I'm sure it was tasty -
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In Toronto, there is a great Thai resto called 'Salad King'.
When you order the Pad Thai, they ask you for a number from 1 to 10, indicating spicyness. The '2' was enough for me...
Best food of this type I ever had was early '60s at the Omni Hut near Smyrna, TN, when I was in C-130 school. They called it poly-asian. Just googled it, and it appears to still be open. Menu: http://www.omnihut.com/menu.html. Looks the same as 65 years ago.
I spent a few days in Nan (northern Thailand near the border with Laos) and can tell you with confidence that the food is delicious (and inexpensive!). But what the locals eat is not what an American could typically eat.
Several times a dish (I was told it was a popular fish dish - Tom Something or other) was brought to a local and it was tear gas spray passing by our table. And I know what tear gas is like up close and personal.
They like their markets and Nan had morning, mid-day, and evening markets. We were in the mid-day market once when I noticed a guy scrubbing on something he had in some dark fluid in a portion of a 50 gallonish drum. I looked closer and realized he had a wire brush and scrubbing on a pig's head. Don't even want to imagine what the fluid may have been. Once he was satisfied with the one he was scrubbing it went up on a table and another one went into the fluid fro scrubbing.
I was walking among the tables in the market and noticed one filled with wax paper sacs (the sort you get Chinese fried noodles in for take out). Then I noticed the sacks were filled with dried grasshoppers. Then I noticed a group of sacks next to those and they were filled with live grasshoppers.
Meals cost maybe $1.25 worth of baht if one was splurging. One evening I noticed a sign for Heineken and wanted a beer in the worst way. But it cost as much as my entire dinner and that seemed wrong. But I broke down and bought it. They brought me a giant 20 oz bottle. Tasted like the real stuff to me.
Funny how you start bargaining the way the locals do. Trying to haggle someone down on something that costs $2 there and would be $5 or more over here. Struck me as silly but it was expected and amusing.
My experience with Thai food here in The World is that it is Americanized pretty much the same as Chinese (and probably French and Italian for that matter). But to quote an Authentic Chinese coworker when several of us were eating in a Chinese restaurant in NJ, when we asked if the food was authentic Chinese, "Oh, no. Not authentic, but delicious!"
Me, I'm Canadian of German extraction and for most of my life unable to handle very hot foods.
A few years ago, at Tacos Ivan in Sayulita, I was unaware that the salsa bowls were in descending order of heat. In fact, I knew nothing of Mexican village taco stands and was there because it was the only thing both open and not jammed. I slathered my tacos with ladles from bowls 1 through 3.
It got so hot it was icy and my tears were refreshing. Changed me forever.
I shall order "Local", and raise a toast to the Thai chef, and Ivan, who learned me good.
Except for their crazy politics, I laud all things Thai.
Just short R&R's of experience, but several of them.
Most wonderful food. You grow to embrace the heat. Other than Hong Kong the best I've had.
It's a Buddhist nation, for the most part. So not Judgmental in the main. Do what you need to make a living.
Agree, not sure why they would come here, but welcome if they do.
How interesting: I was just discussing a Thai restaurant that closed several years back that I'd tried. Actually, the small town had two Thai restaurants, though there was not a large population of Thais in the area.
The dish I was describing to her was some sort of soup made with coconut milk. In the bottom of the bowl was a small animal's joint. I hope it belonged to a chicken. Didn't eat there again.
The other restaurant was, I suppose, more "Americanized", in that bones and joints were excluded from the entrees.
Have not been able to have any decent Thai food, either in-restaurant or carryout/take-home, since moving back South (to Coastal NC, then South FL for awhile, then back to NC to stay...) from the Detroit area (after 30 years there) just over 20 years ago...About the only thing I really miss from all that time in MI; those Thai places up there (especially in the N/E exurbs of Detroit) really know their stuff, better by far than Chinese...Did manage to get some decent Thai carryout on one (brief) occasion in NYC, about 12 years ago, but that's all. We can get pretty much anything else - even excellent Viet/Cambodian - around here, esp. in seafood, but no Thai...too bad. Found one place down in FL when visiting my brother and his wife, when they moved down there (over on the Gulf Coast) about 3 years ago, need to go back there, I guess, for another visit...
When I was a child my family grew hot peppers. Cayenne. And my Grandmother knew how to make them hot. And I mean HOT. She used hog manure and coffee grounds as a fertilizer. I've never eaten at a Thia restaurant but, because of this article, I'm going to soon. And I'll go straight for the hottest spice they've got. There are three Thai places near me in Georgia rated very high on Yelp. But...who knows?
My Dad did grew hot peppers as well. After he retired he grew a half acre of jalapeno and habernero for sale to a regional supermarket chain. He grew hot(!) cayennes as well and had several with his dinner every evening during the summer. Thus, I too grew up knowing what hot(!) peppers were and acquired a taste for them myself.
All that said as bolstering my "pepper" cred when I advise to be prepared for tearing, pain and sweating with the hottest of the Thai foods.
The first time I went out for Thai was at a little neighborhood joint in Seattle. My girlfriend at the time was a little Swedish girl from Iowa who was, shall we say, somewhat deprived in the field of culinary experience. The dishes were numbered 1 to 5. She and I both liked hot food--or thought we did--and so ordered a 2 and a 3. The waiter looked concerned, in fact begged us to reconsider. "No, no! Americans like 1, maybe 2. No 3!" We persevered, and a plate arrived. It was astonishingly hot.
"That's 2", the waiter said. When 3 arrived, my soul briefly left my body. Had it not been for their exquisite Thai iced tea, we both would have combusted on the spot.