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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thai Hot: Completely Overrated

In what was a fairly normal (i.e. daily) occurrence for me, I woke up yearning for some Thai Food. Lunch was my first opportunity to succumb to said craving, and I decided to make the most of it by trying a new street vendor called "16th Street Mall Thai Food Cart". With an auspicious name such as that, how could I go wrong?

16th Street Mall Thai Food Cart

Also going for it was the line of 20 people waiting patiently for lunch. As it was quite sunny and the bossman was out of the office (i.e. SLOW day at work), I figured I should give it a shot.

What started off as a positive indication (length of line was suggestive of the high quality of food I would be receiving) quickly turned negative. Turns out the little lady in the cart only has one pan/burner, so can only make one order at a time. In the grand scheme of things she probably cooks really quickly, but when there are 20 people in front of you and each order takes about 3 minutes..... time adds up quickly. However I had my faithful Droid with a newly downloaded Connect Four App, so I decided to wait it out since I had already invested about 15 minutes and was still at the back of the line.

~49 minutes later I reached the front of the line. I quickly ordered a Chicken Basil, Spicy Level: FIRE. As per the the bright red flame-encrusted text on the menu, this was the highest level of spice. The lady starts skeptically laughing at me, and brokenly asks me if I was sure. I assured her that yes, I had been weighing the pros and cons over the past 49.5 minutes and was sure that this is what I wanted. (SideNote: The lady in front of me ordered "baby spice". n00000b alert!)

The end result is below

So I furtively sneak into the office (making sure nobody has noticed I have now been gone for about 53 minutes), take a bite of the meal, wait for the heat......... and am still waiting. WTF?! Why do ethnic cultures with the ability to make such hot foods, always dumb it down so much? I mean I understand that the average customer is a total wuss and can't handle any heat, but if someone clearly orders the hottest possible setting (and I even said "as hot as you can make it" after she questioned me), then why not try and burn them up? In my life, i've literally found only a couple that actually make hot food when you ask for the spiciest level (Cluck-U-Chicken and Brick Lane Curry are the only ones to come to mind at the moment). For nations like Thailand and India that pride themselves on their spicy food culture, it's just embarrassing the stuff that their restaurants are peddling as "Thai Hot" and "Fire".

SO yeah, for all you restaurant proprietors out there: If someone asks for it "as hot as you can make it", you should lay on the spice and completely burn them up.

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