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He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Monday, June 30, 2003

If you can't give the heat, get out of the kitchen

I'm vain about my tolerance for spicy food, first acquired during a two-year stint as a roommate to an Indian graduate student at Notre Dame and maintained subsequently by my preference for southeast Asian cuisine. I'll fess up to meeting my match on occasion--one meal at a Thai restaurant in Minneapolis was genuinely painful--but generally, especially in the smaller towns, I smile smugly at the waiters who warn me against ordering their hottest dishes. I was told at one of Bloomington's Tibetan restaurants that "only foreigners" asked for a five out of five on their heat scale, but I found it to be quite bland. This weekend I tried a Thai restaurant in Lubbock and ordered "Musmon." Again I got the caveat, again I took the plunge and ordered it hot, again I waited with slight trepidation (who knows, maybe this time they're right), again I was disappointed. Luckily they had some chili sauce sitting out in bowls which I could ladle into the food until I got my sinuses running.


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