One of the things I love about living in Hawaii is the availability of some of my favorite foods. I have to admit that prior to living in Thailand for a while I didn’t really do spicy. I come from the middle of Long Island; full of Chinese places, good pizza, great bagels and lots o’ white folk. When the Thailand volunteers were all together before being sent to where we would live, we spent a lot of time talking about our digestive problems. About how our developed world stomachs were or were not tolerating our new diets. It mostly wasn’t pretty. I remember one morning I passed out when they gave me a vaccination because I hadn’t eaten that day since my stomach was not feeling well. Eventually, it all settled out.
My favorite thing to eat in Thailand was green papaya salad and sticky rice (well, truthfully, kao soi a northern noodle dish is fantastic, but I only had it when I was in Chiang Mai and couldn’t get it where I was in Essan). I’ve only had good kao soi a few times outside of Thailand and it was always at either my friend Chrissie’s house or at my friend Joe’s. When they cook Thai, we end up using every cooking utensil in the kitchen and it takes all day but it is so worth it. Actually, when I came back from Thailand, there was no Thai food to be had in central Long Island. So now, now, that I can pick up the phone at lunch and walk a couple of blocks to pick up the best green papaya salad and sticky rice any day of the week it makes me really happy. I have to admit that it is truly one of my comfort foods.
The ladies at the place up the street know me. Some days I think that they tend to make my “medium” spicy way spicier than that. Like today. Tastes like burning. And although it was hot, it was not hot enough to trigger the hiccups. In Thailand when I would eat something super hot, it would get the hiccups. It happens infrequently here in the U.S.
Aside from the fantastic Thai food, there is an abundance of Korean food here in Hawaii. I have always really liked kimchee, always, but recently, I have been craving it. I discovered that the Korean place up the street will sell me a small container of half cabbage kimchee and half cucumber kimchee and my son and I have been walking up there quite frequently to partake. The kimchee that they sell there is so much better than the stuff they sell in the jar at the supermarket that I can’t bring myself to buy it from anywhere else. One summer in NY we went to the pricey organic farm stand and bought what they called kimchee. I think the jar was like $11, seriously. It was definitely not kimchee, more sweet than spicy and pickley than anything else. Yummy, just not kimchee.
So after today’s Thai lunch and kimchee dinner. I am totally spiced out and it is a good thing. I highly recommend it; especially when you can get it.