Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'll taste just what I please.

Prepare yourself, O reader, for the tragedie which I will this day relate. It is a tale of disappointment, bizarrity and Pad Thai.

I desired Pad Thai. Two doors down from the school there is a little restaurant called Sa's Place. Sa is fantastic, and lately she's been enveloping her pad thai with a big, flat fried egg and providing crushed cashews instead of peanuts. As with many Thai businesses her restaurant is also her home, and she sometimes opens it for the hungry westerners who look pleadingly through her locked gate. On this day, the gate was indeed locked at 4: something in the afternoon. Rather than disturb the mistress, I kept walking to Naughtiness.

I had never ordered Pad Thai at Naughtiness, on account of their green curry and fried vegetables and squid anything being so fantastic. And also, perhaps, because I had never seen it on the menu. The translations are (obviously--they have a dish called Naughtiness) a bit odd sometimes, and there was something on the menu that was "stir fried noodles." That sounds promising, right? So I asked the lovely waitress as I pointed, "Is this Pad Thai?" and she responded in a way that didn't actually answer the question but seemed to come close enough. She said, "You want Pad Thai?" And I smiled and said, "ko Pad Thai goong ka" and that was it.

It took awhile. Longer than usual at this restaurant. I took a picture of a pretty boat in the pretty water while I waited.


I figured that my order wasn't really on the menu so they had gone to get ingredients. That does happen fairly often here. I heard the relayed tale of someone who ordered something at a restaurant on Magical Crystal Island and waited for a long while before a speedboat pulled up on the beach with fresh ingredients from the market. And one time in Cambodia, Elle and Jamie and I ordered pizza and wine at a pizza place and the man who took our order emerged from the kitchen shortly thereafter, and climbed on his motorbike. He then stopped, went back to the restaurant, thumbed through a menu, returned to his bike and sped off. We speculated that he was taking a quick pizza making class, or looking up "pizza" in an encyclopedia or something. As it turns out, he was just buying our wine for us. The pizza was great.

Oh, sorry to ramble. My food finally arrived! It looked a little goopy. I'd never seen Pad Thai with that much sauce. And it was kind of dark. They did roast my peanuts for me, which is fantastic. I took a bite.

It was sweet. Really sweet. That's probably why they didn't give me the usual spice rack with fish sauce and pepper and white sugar. What was that familiar taste though, after the sweetness? Oh, my god. Oh, my god.

It's ketchup.


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