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  1. #11
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    Re: How Hot Do You Like Your Thai Food?

    I prefer my Thai food mildly hot. It’s because my palate cannot tolerate fiery-hot dishes. Which is a handicap if you travel in Thailand extensively. Not a serious one, though, if you embrace the aphorism ‘When in Rome do what the Romans do…’ with a built-in caveat, ‘…that you can withstand’. I cherish that travel allows you to experiment and explore, but I see no point in totally abandoning your comfort zone in search for thrills.

    Knowing my limits, I had to learn beforehand a very useful phrase that helps me in my gastronomical adventures-“mai piet”. It’s a crude translation for “not hot”. Most of the time it works, especially when it becomes apparent that I am not Thai, which happens without me half-trying. These words come in handy when you order a dish that is yet to be cooked. Or you want to be told which viands in an array of choices are mai piet.

    Of course most Thai hosts are hospitable and try to cater to their guests’ peculiar whims. But I don’t want to look like a pain ( and run the risk of not being invited again), so I strongly encourage them to order what really satisfies the palates of the majority. Then I choose something to suit me. Fortunately, Thai families with youngsters normally serve non-spicy food to them--so I share the kids’ provisions!

    But when the only available meal is pre-cooked and you are faced with a take-it or leave- it (or else you starve) predicament then it’s time to resort to techniques that neutralize the heat on the tongue. The most common mistake is to gulp down ice or ice-cold drinks to relieve a burning sensation in the mouth. That doesn't help.

    Instead, it is highly recommended to take milk, sugar (desserts like cr่me caramels or custards, puddings, etc.), acidic juices, liquors served on the rocks, and ice-cream--not because of its being cold, but because of its dairy and sugar contents.

    Truth is, except for my inability to consume food that burns the mouth, I am not a picky eater. In Thailand I can thrive on fried rice with different non-spicy toppings. Not to mention mangoes and sugar apples and mangosteens and rambutans and lychees and pineapples and…

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  3. #12
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    Re: How Hot Do You Like Your Thai Food?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marie View Post
    The most common mistake is to gulp down ice or ice-cold drinks to relieve a burning sensation in the mouth. That doesn't help.

    Instead, it is highly recommended to take milk, sugar (desserts like cr่me caramels or custards, puddings, etc.), acidic juices, liquors served on the rocks, and ice-cream--not because of its being cold, but because of its dairy and sugar contents.

    Marie,

    You make some really good points on how to tame the burn. I still remember going to a Thai movie with my soon-to-be wife when I was still young and dumb (now I'm older). She had bought some street food and I was scarfing it down without paying any attention. Somehow I wound up eating a really hot pepper. I was drinking a large Pepsi that was ice cold and I kept trying to hold the Pepsi in my mouth as long as possible to kill the heat. It did not work! I must have suffered for an hour.

    Now I know to eat some rice (cold not hot) to try and absorb the oil.

    RickThai

  4. #13
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    Re: How Hot Do You Like Your Thai Food?

    Quote Originally Posted by Susana View Post
    Moo grapow is one of my favorite dishes, and one of the few things I can eat at full strength. I think one of the reasons is the blend of heat & basil tempered by the rice which makes it bearable to my palate. I grow peppers but usually the hot banana is the hottest I can tolerate. I make Thai sweet chili sauce with the chili peppers and dry & grind some as a condiment also, but use sparingly. I like a blend of tastes rather than any one overpowering the whole.
    That is kind of interesting. Holy basil, which is sometime called hot basil tends to maximum the heat of peppers (based upon my experience and what my wife has told me). I think that is how it got the name "hot basil".

    Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

    RickThai

  5. #14
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    Re: How Hot Do You Like Your Thai Food?

    If your nose doesn't start to run.....it's not spicy enough....
    “ The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. ”
    - Chinese Proverb

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  7. #15
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    Re: How Hot Do You Like Your Thai Food?

    Having a runny nose is pretty standard for me when eating Thai food. But when my forehead breaks out in a sweat and my eyes are streaming tears,then I know I'm pretty much at the limit of how hot I can eat Thai food.

    RickThai

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  9. #16
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    Re: How Hot Do You Like Your Thai Food?

    I like it hot at times but for most of the time I reckon about a medium heat is good.

  10. #17
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    Re: How Hot Do You Like Your Thai Food?

    Maxxy,

    I agree that if the food is too hot, it sometimes distracts from the overall flavor of the dish.

    My own theory, was that eating hot food came about in the past when there wasn't enough food to go around. By increasing the heat, it allowed people in their prime (the food gathers and hunters) to get more nourishment, thereby helping the entire group in the long run.

    BTW, No factual evidence to support my theory, it is just a product of my imagination and may or may not have some inkling of truth in some cases.

    RickThai

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  12. #18
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    Re: How Hot Do You Like Your Thai Food?

    My theory is that it was to disguise the taste of food going bad in a hot climate before the availability of refridgeration.

    David

  13. #19
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    Re: How Hot Do You Like Your Thai Food?

    I have long thought, based on legend, that hot peppers and spices retard spoilage. However, I've not been able to find any scientific evidence to back up this theory.

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  15. #20
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    Re: How Hot Do You Like Your Thai Food?

    Some light reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spice

    David

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