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Jingthing

Thais Are Not Very Open To Their Neighbors Cooking!

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One thing I have begun to wonder about... How can people taste the food when they pile on the chili? I like chilis as much as the next person, but I am coming to believe that people loading up on the chilis just do because they have become accustomed to the burn rather than the taste. Are there any chefs on here who can comment on this?

I remember years ago, I was in a BBQ shop in the States and my friend's order was extra spicy. Anyway, when the order arrived it was so hot that she could not taste the food. She actually called the owner from the kitchen and complained that she could not taste the food. I hadn't thought about that until I read this topic... Must have been 23 years ago... :)

A long time back I was sitting with a farang friend at an eating place and the cook gave us something to try as she wanted our opinion - it was quite heavily loaded with chillies. I commented that it was very nice but I didn't really like the fermented fish flavour. My friend didn't even know there was fish in it, he could only taste the chili. I was more accustomed to spicy food than my friend so I could still taste the food.

Chili, in the right quantities enhances, doesn't disguise the flavour, but the quantities have to be right for the person who is eating. Maybe that is why chillies or often added afterwards by the diner.

i hate to say it as a lover of spicy food, but consuming chillies deadens your taste buds, as does smoking , and drinking... Whats the easiest way to cover up a maybe not so fresh fish that may not have ever seen ice or referigiration before being served? strong cooking techniques combined with strong cover masking flavors ie. chillis, fish sauce, what better way to hide slightly off fish than with fermented fish sauce.. Cooking tempratures and techniques will tell you alot about a countries climate / sanitation,,, but its not a hard and fast rule. For example japan, fish is treated at certian levels of dining very simply, sashimi ect as compared to thai food, the common cooking techniques are high heat and the product is most often cooked well done. When was the last time you were in a thai restaurant that asked you what temp you wanted anything cooked too?

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tb86

i hate to say it as a lover of spicy food, but consuming chillies deadens your taste buds, as does smoking , and drinking...

I am not sure I would put it that way but it is true that the palates of those that love hot and spicy foods are different than those who don't. So called "super tasters", those with the most sensitive palates, generally do not like spicy food. That does not mean that most people who don't like hot and spicy foods are super tasters, that is not the case. We are all different, there is no right or wrong on these preferences.

Edited by Jingthing

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i hate to say it as a lover of spicy food, but consuming chillies deadens your taste buds, as does smoking , and drinking... Whats the easiest way to cover up a maybe not so fresh fish that may not have ever seen ice or referigiration before being served? strong cooking techniques combined with strong cover masking flavors ie. chillis, fish sauce, what better way to hide slightly off fish than with fermented fish sauce.. Cooking tempratures and techniques will tell you alot about a countries climate / sanitation,,,

Almost let it go ... but I couldn't.

That really is a most insidious piece of cultural imperialism, often repeated and believed by many, but so obviously wrong if you stop and think about it for just a second.

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i hate to say it as a lover of spicy food, but consuming chillies deadens your taste buds, as does smoking , and drinking... Whats the easiest way to cover up a maybe not so fresh fish that may not have ever seen ice or referigiration before being served? strong cooking techniques combined with strong cover masking flavors ie. chillis, fish sauce, what better way to hide slightly off fish than with fermented fish sauce.. Cooking tempratures and techniques will tell you alot about a countries climate / sanitation,,,

Almost let it go ... but I couldn't.

That really is a most insidious piece of cultural imperialism, often repeated and believed by many, but so obviously wrong if you stop and think about it for just a second.

Why is that wrong when you think about it for just a second?  The Smithsonian magazine used to have a series of articles on the evolution of cuisines, and this idea was also presented there.

With very few exceptions, most spicy food originates where the weather is hot, and most blander foods with regards to "heat" originate where the climate is cooler.  Yes, chilis and such are mostly grown in warmer climates, but these have been readily available for the last several hundred years.  And that is enough time for food items to be adopted by other cultures (chili in Thailand and India, potatoes and tomatoes in Europe, etc.)

It is completely logical to believe that "hot" spices have been used to mask the taste and/or smell of food which is going bad.  This was a much bigger problem in areas where the weather was hot than in the more extreme latitudes or high in the mountains.  This has nothing to do with cultural imperialism.  Aztecs, in hot Mexico, had spicy food.  Incas, in the high Andes, had blander foods.  Is stating that somehow a castigation on either culture?  Is one cuisine somehow indicative of the overall value, so-to-say, of either culture?

The fact of the matter is that a slab of pork sitting in a London market 200 years ago would last longer before spoiling than a slab of pork in a market in Ayuttaya 200 years ago.  THere is nothing culturally imperialistic about that. It simply has to do with the weather.  And as all protein was extremely valuable back then, people weren't going to let a little spoilage keep them from consuming it.  And if a spot of chili helps the food go down better, makes it taste better, then that is certaily a viable option.

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i hate to say it as a lover of spicy food, but consuming chillies deadens your taste buds, as does smoking , and drinking... Whats the easiest way to cover up a maybe not so fresh fish that may not have ever seen ice or referigiration before being served? strong cooking techniques combined with strong cover masking flavors ie. chillis, fish sauce, what better way to hide slightly off fish than with fermented fish sauce.. Cooking tempratures and techniques will tell you alot about a countries climate / sanitation,,,

Almost let it go ... but I couldn't.

That really is a most insidious piece of cultural imperialism, often repeated and believed by many, but so obviously wrong if you stop and think about it for just a second.

Why is that wrong when you think about it for just a second?  The Smithsonian magazine used to have a series of articles on the evolution of cuisines, and this idea was also presented there.

With very few exceptions, most spicy food originates where the weather is hot, and most blander foods with regards to "heat" originate where the climate is cooler.  Yes, chilis and such are mostly grown in warmer climates, but these have been readily available for the last several hundred years.  And that is enough time for food items to be adopted by other cultures (chili in Thailand and India, potatoes and tomatoes in Europe, etc.)

It is completely logical to believe that "hot" spices have been used to mask the taste and/or smell of food which is going bad.  This was a much bigger problem in areas where the weather was hot than in the more extreme latitudes or high in the mountains.  This has nothing to do with cultural imperialism.  Aztecs, in hot Mexico, had spicy food.  Incas, in the high Andes, had blander foods.  Is stating that somehow a castigation on either culture?  Is one cuisine somehow indicative of the overall value, so-to-say, of either culture?

The fact of the matter is that a slab of pork sitting in a London market 200 years ago would last longer before spoiling than a slab of pork in a market in Ayuttaya 200 years ago.  THere is nothing culturally imperialistic about that. It simply has to do with the weather.  And as all protein was extremely valuable back then, people weren't going to let a little spoilage keep them from consuming it.  And if a spot of chili helps the food go down better, makes it taste better, then that is certaily a viable option.

Ooooo! The Smithsonian. Must be true then.

''It is completely logical to believe that 'hot' spices have been used to mask the taste and/or smell of food which is going bad.''

If a cuisine/people routinely disguises the taste/smell of rotten food so it can be consumed, pretty soon everyone eating it will be dead. There you go. Simple really. I'd drop a note to The Smithsonian if I were you.

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I found at least 2 places that serve Malay/Indon food in Pattaya!!! First is Bali Villa (or was it Villa Bali?) off Thepprasit. A tad on the expensive side but I did enjoy the food there. Second, is a cake shop (go figure) in the new Central on Beach Rd called Secret Recipe; I found laksa (passable) and nasi lemak (below average) there. Considering there aren't many other choices, I guess I'd still visit these places when I feel like a Malay food fix.

Re: use of spices - I always thought the origins were not so much to mask the food taste, but to act as a preservative e.g. pepper and chilli . Read somewhere that this was what was driving the early spice trade because in Europe, pepper was widely used as a preservative to store/cure meat (they apparently wash it off when ready to consume the meat).

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i hate to say it as a lover of spicy food, but consuming chillies deadens your taste buds, as does smoking , and drinking... Whats the easiest way to cover up a maybe not so fresh fish that may not have ever seen ice or referigiration before being served? strong cooking techniques combined with strong cover masking flavors ie. chillis, fish sauce, what better way to hide slightly off fish than with fermented fish sauce.. Cooking tempratures and techniques will tell you alot about a countries climate / sanitation,,,

Almost let it go ... but I couldn't.

That really is a most insidious piece of cultural imperialism, often repeated and believed by many, but so obviously wrong if you stop and think about it for just a second.

ok then lets hear your reasoning behind it? its no diffrent than smoking meats, curing meats and fish, brining meats, drying meats and fish.... the point is there are techniques used all around the world to presere the lifespan of food, salt/spices tend to be a common denominator in all of the techniques, why is so hard to grasp the concept that no one wants to lose a valuable product..... why may i ask is this comment insidious? I am a lover of all food, i take no pride in bashing thai food I prefer to eat in asia, if thats what your implying my friend you are mistaken... and yeah im in the food buisness and did a masters in food science/ food studies at nyu.... If you disagree fair enough but at least bring your theory to the table.

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Yes, salting was traditionally used to preserve food before there was refrigeration. That's how we got bacalau.

Yes, there is an Indonesia restaurant in Pattaya, however the prices are ridiculous.

http://www.indo-lavillabali-pattaya.com/Menus.html

I have tried the laksa and nasi lemak at the Secret Recipe in Bangkok and now they have an outlet in Pattaya. Not good or authentic.

Edited by Jingthing

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i hate to say it as a lover of spicy food, but consuming chillies deadens your taste buds, as does smoking , and drinking... Whats the easiest way to cover up a maybe not so fresh fish that may not have ever seen ice or referigiration before being served? strong cooking techniques combined with strong cover masking flavors ie. chillis, fish sauce, what better way to hide slightly off fish than with fermented fish sauce.. Cooking tempratures and techniques will tell you alot about a countries climate / sanitation,,,

Almost let it go ... but I couldn't.

That really is a most insidious piece of cultural imperialism, often repeated and believed by many, but so obviously wrong if you stop and think about it for just a second.

Why is that wrong when you think about it for just a second?  The Smithsonian magazine used to have a series of articles on the evolution of cuisines, and this idea was also presented there.

With very few exceptions, most spicy food originates where the weather is hot, and most blander foods with regards to "heat" originate where the climate is cooler.  Yes, chilis and such are mostly grown in warmer climates, but these have been readily available for the last several hundred years.  And that is enough time for food items to be adopted by other cultures (chili in Thailand and India, potatoes and tomatoes in Europe, etc.)

It is completely logical to believe that "hot" spices have been used to mask the taste and/or smell of food which is going bad.  This was a much bigger problem in areas where the weather was hot than in the more extreme latitudes or high in the mountains.  This has nothing to do with cultural imperialism.  Aztecs, in hot Mexico, had spicy food.  Incas, in the high Andes, had blander foods.  Is stating that somehow a castigation on either culture?  Is one cuisine somehow indicative of the overall value, so-to-say, of either culture?

The fact of the matter is that a slab of pork sitting in a London market 200 years ago would last longer before spoiling than a slab of pork in a market in Ayuttaya 200 years ago.  THere is nothing culturally imperialistic about that. It simply has to do with the weather.  And as all protein was extremely valuable back then, people weren't going to let a little spoilage keep them from consuming it.  And if a spot of chili helps the food go down better, makes it taste better, then that is certaily a viable option.

Ooooo! The Smithsonian. Must be true then.

''It is completely logical to believe that 'hot' spices have been used to mask the taste and/or smell of food which is going bad.''

If a cuisine/people routinely disguises the taste/smell of rotten food so it can be consumed, pretty soon everyone eating it will be dead. There you go. Simple really. I'd drop a note to The Smithsonian if I were you.

Despite your attempt at sarcasm, The Smithsonian is an accepted mainstream publication, so things printed there are not too far out of acccepted ideas.

And no, just because something has started to get a little ripe does not mean someone would die because they ate it.  Read some of the historical perspectives on food and food handling.  Most of us today would be appaled at what was common practice in Europe and the US as recent as 100 years ago. When food problems became rampant, people did die, and yes, in significant numbers.  BUt mostly, people ate what was available, and if their digestive systems could not handle it, they suffered through the parasites and diarrhea that resulted.  Meat which was a little ripe could usually be digested without problem.  But that same ripeness might be off-putting to many people, so spices such as chilis would in fact serve to mask that taste.

I certainly would be more than happy to read anything which contravenes this pretty accepted notion about spices, unless that is just your own personal conviction, of course.  If that is the case, then more power to you and we will go our separate ways.

Either way, accepting the notion that "hot" spices might have been used to help mask the lack of freshness in food is hardly cultural imperialism, as you contend.  

Edited by bonobo

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What i find funny about the Thais is this thing with what they call "burnt" food...even anything slightly charrred is like asking them to eat poison

meat, sausages,salami ect charred on a BBQ...is burnt no want

the charred bits on tandoori chicken (the best)..is burnt no want

even naan bread which is essential to have burnt bits...no like

Also my Thai friend says Thais hate the taste/smell that cumin gives off in dishes

Little does she know its one of the main ingredients in my mexican,con carne ect that i make..in mexican food she doesnt seem to notice the cumin and thinks its the best ever

maybe its the cheese and home made habenero chilli sauce that diguises it :)

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What i find funny about the Thais is this thing with what they call "burnt" food...even anything slightly charrred is like asking them to eat poison

meat, sausages,salami ect charred on a BBQ...is burnt no want

the charred bits on tandoori chicken (the best)..is burnt no want

even naan bread which is essential to have burnt bits...no like

Also my Thai friend says Thais hate the taste/smell that cumin gives off in dishes

Little does she know its one of the main ingredients in my mexican,con carne ect that i make..in mexican food she doesnt seem to notice the cumin and thinks its the best ever

maybe its the cheese and home made habenero chilli sauce that diguises it :)

yup 100% agree on this one, best i can get from their reasoning behind this is that some one once told them that the burnt parts are carcinogenic.... at least thats how it works in our household...nonsense, but some things are beyond comprehension, try serving them a bit of blackened catfish...ha

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Re: use of spices - I always thought the origins were not so much to mask the food taste, but to act as a preservative e.g. pepper and chilli . Read somewhere that this was what was driving the early spice trade because in Europe, pepper was widely used as a preservative to store/cure meat (they apparently wash it off when ready to consume the meat).

There is some truth that spices are used as a preservative.  However, pepper and chili are pretty low on the effectiveness in that regard.  Salt, of course, works wonders, as do vinegar (OK, neither are spices), mustard, cloves, and cinnamon.  Even Allspice has some decent preservative properties.

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i hate to say it as a lover of spicy food, but consuming chillies deadens your taste buds, as does smoking , and drinking... Whats the easiest way to cover up a maybe not so fresh fish that may not have ever seen ice or referigiration before being served? strong cooking techniques combined with strong cover masking flavors ie. chillis, fish sauce, what better way to hide slightly off fish than with fermented fish sauce.. Cooking tempratures and techniques will tell you alot about a countries climate / sanitation,,,

Almost let it go ... but I couldn't.

That really is a most insidious piece of cultural imperialism, often repeated and believed by many, but so obviously wrong if you stop and think about it for just a second.

ok then lets hear your reasoning behind it? its no diffrent than smoking meats, curing meats and fish, brining meats, drying meats and fish.... the point is there are techniques used all around the world to presere the lifespan of food, salt/spices tend to be a common denominator in all of the techniques, why is so hard to grasp the concept that no one wants to lose a valuable product..... why may i ask is this comment insidious? I am a lover of all food, i take no pride in bashing thai food I prefer to eat in asia, if thats what your implying my friend you are mistaken... and yeah im in the food buisness and did a masters in food science/ food studies at nyu.... If you disagree fair enough but at least bring your theory to the table.

If you have a master's degree in food science/studies from NYU, then you are probably aware that you are now talking about something quite different. I'm sure you know the difference between preserving food and disguising the taste of rotten food. Your first post was about the latter, now you are talking about methods if preservation. Discussion of methods of preservation is not insidious. Asserting that people in hot (poor ... foreign) countries use chillies to disguise the taste of rotten food is.

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If you were brought up being told that Thai food was the best in the world why would you bother trying anything inferrior?

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i hate to say it as a lover of spicy food, but consuming chillies deadens your taste buds, as does smoking , and drinking... Whats the easiest way to cover up a maybe not so fresh fish that may not have ever seen ice or referigiration before being served? strong cooking techniques combined with strong cover masking flavors ie. chillis, fish sauce, what better way to hide slightly off fish than with fermented fish sauce.. Cooking tempratures and techniques will tell you alot about a countries climate / sanitation,,,

Almost let it go ... but I couldn't.

That really is a most insidious piece of cultural imperialism, often repeated and believed by many, but so obviously wrong if you stop and think about it for just a second.

ok then lets hear your reasoning behind it? its no diffrent than smoking meats, curing meats and fish, brining meats, drying meats and fish.... the point is there are techniques used all around the world to presere the lifespan of food, salt/spices tend to be a common denominator in all of the techniques, why is so hard to grasp the concept that no one wants to lose a valuable product..... why may i ask is this comment insidious? I am a lover of all food, i take no pride in bashing thai food I prefer to eat in asia, if thats what your implying my friend you are mistaken... and yeah im in the food buisness and did a masters in food science/ food studies at nyu.... If you disagree fair enough but at least bring your theory to the table.

If you have a master's degree in food science/studies from NYU, then you are probably aware that you are now talking about something quite different. I'm sure you know the difference between preserving food and disguising the taste of rotten food. Your first post was about the latter, now you are talking about methods if preservation. Discussion of methods of preservation is not insidious. Asserting that people in hot (poor ... foreign) countries use chillies to disguise the taste of rotten food is.

ok well lets first make a distinction between rotten food and off food, as they are not the same by any means, a non refrigerated fish will go off after about 12-18 hours.... the fish is not toxic by any means it will experience rapid bacterial growth once it hits an ambient temprature (aka danger zone) but it will be unwise to serve in low heat or no heat cooking techniques ie sashimi, sousvide, or any technique that wont bring the internal temp above the kill point for bacteria.At this point in time fish will develop what is commonly refered to as a fishy smell or flavor often a mild ammonia smell or flavor that will steadily increase as time progresses, the amonia smell is a byproduct of the bacterias activity on said protien. Rotten Food is just that unuseable... What i am saying is that if you cook a peice of protien that has been in the danger zone and is moving twoards total spoilage high heat techniques are the best way to kill off any bacteria, frying for example, or boiling away in soup, as these are both very common techniques used in thai food, combine these techniques with strong flavors any you have essentialy extended the useable timeframe for a food product. Ok imagine if there were no spices or chilli used in thai food, how good do you think that peice of pork sitting on a moo ping cart all day would taste, or maybe that northern sausage tthat probaly hasnt been produced under any type of sanitary standards, most likley a little sour. Let me ask you this why does thailand not operate under the commonly practiced HAACP plans that the western world abides to, even the thai health department does not even make it readily avaliable for restaurants. Cooking techniques almost always through out history have evolved to deal with the realities of the climate, and socio economic situations as well as products on hand. This is mostly true for developing nations in the same temperate zones no? mexico, some of africa, central and parts of south america, parts of south east asia, india ect. Why do you think food poisioning is so commmon amongst western travelers in these areas, the local population has buit up immunites to such levels and strains of bacteria after being constantly exposed to higher levels of bacteria. At the end of the day chilli and strong flavors will make your food taste better for longer, thats a simple fact.

And yes curing smoking ect are geared to the same goal.... to extend the useability of food products, those techniques are just at a higher level of preservation

Edited by tb86

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