When it comes to spice the Thai do not play nice. Each meal I ate was the spiciest meal I has ever eaten. For examples, my last day in Thailand I ate the spiciest meal I have ever eaten.
Pat Krapao Moo Sap (spicy pork and basil salad.) prepared by this women.
By bite three face was beet red, bite five my lips went numb, ten bites in and my nose was running like a Niagara Falls on a rainy day.
I cried. I am not afraid to admit it.
Thailand, your climate is hot. Why the desire to eat pure (though often delicious) fire?
Simple answer, spoilage.
As an animal attempting to eat ancestrally, I consume a good deal of other animals. I make a respectful effort to ensure that is kept fresh and chilly, not wasted. In the tropics heat and humidity make this endeavour more challenging.
Hence the spice.
Chillie, curries, peppers, they all boast impressive antimicrobial properties that protect eaters from rapidly fermenting flesh.
Thus, the more my mouth melts the less food born baddies with burn up my belly. Good news to me as my travellers diet is comprised of 90% street cart food.
Central America, Central Africa, India, and of course Thailand, they all have long histories of hot dishes.
the arguement could be made that modern refrigeration has undone a lot of the need for such spicy measures.
But I’m sitting at my new favorite BBQ stand, watching a chef cut papaya and crack crabs in to a mixing bowl. O, I be grateful for chillie powder.
Helpful Thai phrases:
Lek lek pec kap khon kap = just a little spicy thank you
and for the daring,
Mak mak pec kap khon kap = spice it up