Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Water Won't Help!

My first experience with Thai food was in California back about 18 years ago as a Marine. Jesse Zimbauer and I walked into a Thai restaurant and ordered some meat dish and the old man (owner) asked if we'd ever eaten Thai food before, to which we responded in the negative. He then smiled and asked what "level of spicy" we wanted. Both of us, big bad Marines, replied "Big Spicy" to which he immediately, concern in his face, replied, "Water won't help, Big spicy too spicy".

We of course took this as a challenge and told him, "No, we want Big spicy". The back and forth went on for a few minutes with the owner growing less concerned about how we would physically react to his spicy concoction and more worried about if we would ever return or if we would give his place negative pub on base.

Eventually the look of concern on his face and his repetitive insistence that "water won't help" broke us and we convinced him that the lowest level of spicy that we would accept was "medium spicy". He reluctantly agreed as he felt that even medium spicy was too hot for a couple of white boys with high and tight hair cuts.

Our food came, we dug in and scoffed at it's alleged spiciness. We kept mocking dude and mimicking his "Watah won' help!" Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Splinter ninja master voice, "Watah won' help, watah won' help! PPhhhht!"

Let me tell you friends, the Thai chili is a sneaky little bastard! You'll grind into some deep red ones and they'll give you a little sting in the tongue and biggy right? It's the little ninja green ones that look like other vegetables that sneak up on you and turn your head into an inferno!

Soon after choking down some rice and beef while still mocking Splinter, our tears of hilarious laughter turned to tears of pain and spiciness. "Medium spicy" took about 6 spoonfuls or roughly 3 minutes to start puttin' an ass-whoopin' on us that we will likely never forget! To this day I think Splinter heard us mocking him from the kitchen and while whispering to himself ,"I show you, think you eat big spicy!", minced like 3 pounds of green chilis and put them in our food.

He must have been laughing his rear off as he watched his two defeated customers both regrettingly reach for their warm glasses of water that he had warned "won't help". It didn't. Water indeed did not help!" My sweat was sweating it was so dang spicy.

He soon came out of the back with a plate full of sliced cabbage, grinned and said "I told you, water won't help, try this, probably won't help, but try it."

I think it is a cool concept but not sure I "believe" in Karma. One thing I can say though is that the owner of the Thai place was a nice old man who was not trying challenging our manly-man-ness, but trying to help us to enjoy our first experience with his country's food. We just mocked him and assumed that our marine Corps invincibility would take care of his girly-girl-water-won't-help chili peppers...

Lesson learned.

Pae and I are starting to share some of the different foods that we eat here in Thailand. Not sure how often we will update it, but you can find it at the following blogger address...enjoy! If you "follow" us by clicking to be a follower then you'll get updates.

Enjoy! If you "follow" us by clicking to be a follower then you'll get updates.

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