There’s Asian Spicy, Then There’s Everyone Else

Photo By ☼zlady via Creative Commons

Whenever we go out for Asian food, my husband, if given the option, always orders his extra spicy. So do I. Almost always, my dish comes out shooting-flames-out-my-mouth-every-time-I-breathe spicy while his is just, uh, spicy.

Since I’ve known him, my husband likes his food much spicier than I do. And I love spicy food. In college, I became accepted within his circle of friends after I passed the hot wings test: wings so hot, that you would become very intimate with your bathroom the next day. Not to mention it brought tears to your eyes. I passed with flying colors, not even shedding a tear or running towards the nearest glass of milk.

So why is it that my pad thai is always spicier than his?

For the same reason he always received a fork with his chopsticks at some Asian restaurants. He’s not Asian. I guess he’s not qualified to eat with only chopsticks. Maybe the Asian waiter/waitress doesn’t think he can handle burn-off-the-roof-of-your-mouth spicy.

It’s become a running joke between us to see whose plate will be spicier if we order the same dish.

Photo by Candlemaker via Creative Commons

The other day we had lunch at one those ubiquitous Asian buffet joints that offer a mishmash of Asian cuisines: sushi, Mongolian grill (is it really Mongolian?), Chinese, and cheese pizza & chicken nuggets for the non-adventurous folks whose friends dragged them there. As his plate of noodles and vegetables cooked on the “Mongolian” flat top, he asked the cook to make his spicy. “More?” the cook asked as he spooned a teeny bit. “Keep going,” my husband replied. The cook continued to eyeball my husband as he incrementally added the spicy, oily chili sauce atop the noodles.

After a few more dollops of chili sauce, my husband declared it sufficient.

The cook declared, “Ah, your wife must be Mexican.”

We both had a good laugh over that one.

What about you? Have you had similar experiences at Asian restaurants?

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