I need to write about my love for curry in Thailand. I will admit that I think about, plan out, and highly anticipate each meal. The authentic flavors and smells are so tantalizing.
As sad as this is to admit, no matter what has happened in my day, whether good, bad, frustrating, or just plain miserable, curry makes me happy.
Not totally true, as it needs to be real, authentic, delicious curry. When the curry is not these things, I become the opposite of happy. Such little things like this in life should not affect me, but they do. So, while I work on this particular part of my personality, I might as well write about it.
Growing up in North Dakota, meat and potatoes were “what’s for dinner”. Now grown, I love to cook, but rarely keep it that simple. My methods in the kitchen can be summed up with two main characteristics: spice and abundant content. Anything and everything in the fridge is game, and spice is [almost] always added. Recipes are treated like guidelines, making duplication close to impossible.
With this being said, I do not know why I was so surprised when I have not had one curry taste similar to another. Eating from street vendors, small mom & pop shops, or nicer restaurants, it is a mad guess as to what the dish will actually taste like. I have truly enjoyed the variety of the many unique flavors.
The one, single, tiny, seemingly insignificant thing that I have not enjoyed is the inconsistency of spice. I know false expectations can ruin my day, but expecting curry in Thailand to always be spicy, shouldn’t be too far off.
Then it happened. On just another ordinary, sun sweltering, hot day, a friendly “cart” cook gave me my dish, letting me know he altered the spice from what I ordered. Confused, I inquired why. The cook said that he thought his “medium” spice would be too much for me.
An epiphany happened at that moment. My outward appearance and/or accent would indicate to some a zero spice tolerance level. Correlations were drawn and sadly very wrong. I will now be very specific when ordering, because I love me some spice.
Just a few days after my epiphany, I was contemplating ordering hot as a test. Hungry and desiring edible curry, I thought better of the idea and did not.
The little shop we tried put out the hottest curry I have ever had, leaving my bottom lip numb for a full hour afterwards. Surprises can be fun, and that hole in the wall will be seeing me again.