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Old 05-20-2006, 12:05 AM   #1
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Angry This is supposed to be spicy!!! (a rant)

Okay... I have a problem. Well, not so much a problem but more of an issue. Every time i go out for certain types of food (usually ethnic/foriegn) I get treated like I am stupid and dont know what I am *really* ordering.

Take tonight for example. The same thing happened to me that ALWAYS happens to me when I go out for east indian food. I like things spicy... and when I say spicy, I mean, mouth-on-fire, eyes watering and popping out of my head, nasel caveties on overload, etc. type of spicy - okay? Now, generally at east indian restaurants a customer can choose their level of spicy/hot. I always say that I want my super, extra, spicy. This is when the waiter inevitably asks, "Are you sure?" to which I answer, "Yes... very, very hot and spicy."

It's never spicy enough though. Now, I dont think it's just my palate and I dont think I am being too picky... know why? Because when I've gone out with my ex-boyfriend (who happens to be an east indian himself and a big, strong, male) he orders his food extra spicy as well. Guess who food always ended being hotter? Not mine, that's for sure. This has happened when I've been out with my brother, my Dad, etc. etc. It always seems that the waiter and/or chefs believe that I am some young, naive girl who is just saying "spicy" but really wants a toned down version. Grrrrr! If I were a big, husky male ordering it hot I know I would get it the way I want it.

- - -

This type of treatment isnt limited to east indian places either. I always get questions and furrowed brows when I go to japanese/sushi places as well.

You see, I am one of those "weirdos" who has a taste for uni. Lots and lots of uni. (basically raw sea urchin gonads... it's better than it sounds though.. trust me!!! ) I also have a taste for tako (octopus) and ika (squid) nigiri sushi. Now, when I go for out sushi, it's usually a special occasion (otherwise I just get take-out) so I load up on the nice, tasty, more expensive sushis. (like uni) However, I always get questions from the wait staff, like "Have you had uni before?" or "Are you sure you want three?" or "You know that is octopus, right?" and so forth... It makes me crazy!

I dislike having my order being continously questioned and/or not being given what I want because people think I cant handle it. (as in the case of the "spicy" situations) Grrrrrrr.

- - -

It'd be great to dress up in a fat suit and put on a fake mustache and go to these same establishments with a hidden camera in my shirt jacket pocket. I bet you I'd get treated a lot differently.

My brother will order a giant sashimi platter all to himself and not get questions. My ex-boyfriend orders "spicy" food and gets it hotter than hades.

A young woman orders a bunch of uni? Well, she must not really know what it is. Rawrrrr.

- - -

Okay.. I feel better getting that off my chest. Resume regular chit-chat, I am done. Hehe.


~passionate pescetarian~
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Old 05-20-2006, 12:35 AM   #2
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That's funny because whenever I go for Indian food, I always ask for mild. I always used to get "still pretty **** hot for mild-mild". So you know what I do now? I ask for "white man mild."

This has proven to be an effective way to get food that I can eat.

I don't think that helps you, though..

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Old 05-20-2006, 01:10 AM   #3
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LOL - tell a little white lie to the waiter mixed with a healthy dose of reality.

"I want this extra spicy - I want it the way I used to get it when I was a child growing up in India. I don't want the weak tourist crap I usually get here. Either make it right or I'm not going to eat it, and I'll keep sending it back until you do it right, and I'm not going to pay for it until you do it right."
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Old 05-20-2006, 03:33 AM   #4
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I would let them know, that's not the way you wanted it... taste it, call the waiter and complain...
or tell them afterwards, when they ask you, if you like it.. it was quite good, but in no way extra spicy...

btw, we have a friend, and he often has the same problems than you...not spicy enough.. so you are not alone ;o))
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Old 05-20-2006, 05:05 AM   #5
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I've found that peoples' ideas of 'spicy' or 'hot' vary. What I consider palate-numbing, others may think is only mild. I'm sure Thai, Indian, Mexican restaurants, have been 'burned' by customers who said, 'heck, yeah, make it hot, bring it on', and then gotten something that that blew their socks off. I remember going to a new Thai restaurant once - when I order from a new restaurant that has 'degrees' of hot you can order from, I always order 'mild' first, so I can judge what their 'mild' is. Well, this 'mild' dish made my eyes water, it was so hot! Made me glad I didn't order the 'medium' or 'hot'!!

As for sushi bars, I think the same thing applies. They've gotten burned from customers who don't know what they're ordering, and made a fuss about it. The servers are just playing 'cya' to avoid any potential problems. What gets me when I go to sushi restaurants is when you order something in Japanese and the waiter just gives you a blank look, and you have to say the name in English!
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Old 05-20-2006, 06:36 AM   #6
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Tell the waiter you eat habaneros like candy and would like the same kind of heat in your dish.
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Old 05-20-2006, 08:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by GB
Tell the waiter you eat habaneros like candy and would like the same kind of heat in your dish.

That just might do it.
Have you had your habanero pepper today????
The hotter the pepper, the better the pepper!!!
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Old 05-20-2006, 09:31 AM   #8
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Do what Michael said. If it's not hot enough. SEND IT BACK!
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Old 05-20-2006, 09:47 AM   #9
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it's not just a gender bias thing, grumble.

i used to frequent a thai place here in the city, and i'd often order the same thing. grilled squid appy with extra cilantro and mae ploy sauce, and the shrimp noodle bowl, extra extra spicy hot. it took a few times of explaining to the waitress how hot i wanted it, so i then just ordered it with an extra side of hot sauce AND ground hot thai chilis, the entire amout apportioned me going right into the noodles.
one day, the waitress said to me (i think it was the waitress, my eyes were tearing badly and my nose running like a fountain...lol) that i was the only white person that she's ever seen eat as spicy as her own father does back home in thailand, and he is known for his pepper prowess.

ever since then, when i want something hot, i ask for a side of hot sauce or dried peppers. and i mention that i want the real stuff, not the otc touristy crap. i've found that the guys in indian restaurants love the challenge when they get to know you that way. same goes for korean. i still cannot get good spicy mexican tho...

speaking of korean, try eating super hot korean food, like homemade extra spicy kimchee or something, then wash it down with warm rum or sake. talk about afterburn! a korean friend says that this is the real test of true iron gut and chilli head.
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Old 05-20-2006, 09:53 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Andy M.
Do what Michael said. If it's not hot enough. SEND IT BACK!
I always feel guilty sending things back. And I never know when it's appropriate and when it's not. Like for the most part, when it comes to the indian meals, the food is actually still pretty good... it's just not as spicy as I wanted it. (and I KNOW it can be spicier because the same dishes are made spicier for the men that I dine with... THAT'S what I find so frustrating)

So yah... I dont want to be a nightmare customer for the restaurant, on the other hand, I do wish they would just make it hotter than hades in the first place! I have a friend who works in a nice hotel restaurant as a sous chef and he tells me all these stories about nightmare customers who constantly send things back and make life difficult for the staff. (although I think he is referring to people who send stuff back repeatedly and for no good reason - eg: the person who wanted a different meal because there was no parsley as a garnish... I kid you not! THat really happened once)

I've actually only had the guts to send something back once... and that was because it was a salmon steak and it was frozen in the middle. When it comes to the spicy indian food I always think I'll come across as being too picky or whatever....

ETA: (sorry Bucky, we must have replied at the same time so i did not see your post when I originally responded) Anyway, thanks for your suggestions. I guess it happens to guys as well...? Although the places I've been they do tend to make the dishes hotter for the guys who want it that way... irritates me beyond belief! Rawrrr.. I think maybe next time I will ask for a side of extra, super, hot spice and see what they do.

As for the homemade kimchee and such, you can bet that when I make my spicy food at home it's hot enough! I love kimchi and have made super hot varieties at home many times.. it's SO good. Nobody else can eat it though, but that is fine by me! (means I get to be a piggy and eat the whole batch... heheh.. not all at once though... yikes!)

~passionate pescetarian~
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