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Why is it so hard to get spicy Chinese and Thai food in the DC Area


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Why is it so hard to get spicy Chinese and Thai food in the DC Area

deangold | Jul 27, 2009 10:51 AM

There is a thread on Hunan Legend's secret menu, now not a secret thanks to CH, where some of the posters complain that it is har to order the authentic dishes. One of the arguments in favor of Grace Gardens is that the owners want you to try the authentic stuff if you show any inclination to do so. Its just too darn far for me to ahve gotten there yet, but someday soon.

I have to say that I don't generally have this problem in NYC, LA, SF. There I can usually convince the waiter with an introductory conversation that we like the real thing and are at the restaurant to discover what they do different/special etc. I've had the last laugh at places like the original Ocean Star in LA which gave me lobster sashimi in an attempt to put me off, the head of the lobster walked off the platter. But boy was that a great dish.

I had a fish sashimi where the body was used as a serving piece and the fish was opening and closing its mouth as we were eating the slices. My wife told me to stop playing with our dinner!

I have been served kidneys and liver and blood in Sichuan restaurants (very good too) on my first visit. Brandy Ho's and Henry's Hunan made dishes so ma la ma la that you remembered them for days after. Still, there are places here where you can talk till your blue int he face and you are not going to get the real deal.

Tempt Asian has yet to see a return visit from me as the meal was quite good but annoyingly not spicy.

One of the real shames about Nava Thai's move to its new digs is that even if you order the food spicy and ask them to make it really spicy, it just is not as spicy as it was at the old place.

At Vit Goel, to get really spicy soon doo boo, I have to order it spicy spicy spicy spicy and then tell them I have Korean friends and eat it really Korean spicy and then I am likely to get what I want. But all is not like this: At Gamalsot, order something spicy and be prepared to have your tongue melt if you didn't really want spicy! Honey Pig's Chul Pan is hot enough to etch concrete but boy is it good!

Not that Hunan Legend is in my normal area of dining and I have GG to go to first, But I hope these two places will not follow the dumbed down approach.

I mean I don't have a secret menu at my restaurant and I don't make you pass an authenticity test before I let you order the stuffed duck neck where if you fail, I really give you breaded chicken fingers with mambo sauce because I don't think you're ready for duck neck stuffed with gizzards & hearts. You want tripe o rtongue and its on the menu: have at it. I will probably tell you to try it especially if I think its somethign you have never tried before. They always say you will always remember your first tongue. Or somethign like that! ;)

But even after probably 100 visits to Joe's Noodle House, I washaving trouble getting things truly ma la if Audrey wasn't there. When it happened again (serving me the wrong dish and then remaking it not spicy) I stopped going for over a year. Now, no problem but what a way to have to get what you want! There is a thread right now on about Joe's and how hard it is for some to get real ma la and how others have it figured out. Maybe they should have a release for us endorphin addicts to sign:

How hot do you want it? {check only one}
__Spicy {and I usually eat at PF Chiang's so just walk past the wok with a chile pepper}.
__Spicy {I like hot polish sausages and the green sauce at El Pollo Rico so make it a little spicy}
__Spicy {I regularly eat amercianized Chinese and Thai so add about 1/2 of the usual amount of hot}
__Spicy {I like the real stuff so make it as if I was from {insert the name of your home city}
__Spicy {make it like I was your crazy uncle who loves food so hot it hurts your eyes just to loook at it}
__Spciy {Hotter than the above!}

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