A good hot curry

Ideally, a good, hot curry should leave shreds of skin hanging off the roof of your mouth. It should leave you whimpering in the corner of the restaurant, or make you want to race around the block like Wile E. Coyote with his arse on fire.

I lived in Singapore for two years, and apart from making me suspicious of people who delight in acronyms, as well as hankering for high quality medical dramas, I think it did something irreversible to my tastebuds. Ever since I came back, I’ve been on the hunt for the hottest curry available to humanity, preferably with a side-serving of paint stripper. Unfortunately, this small request is too much to ask in this country. It seems no-one knows how to make a good, hot curry.

Let me pause a minute to rap on my table for the punkah-wallah – it’s getting dashed steamy in here just talking about this stuff.

These days, when I go into a SE Asian restaurant, I don’t have time to peruse them menu. I just ask for the hottest curry on offer, at which they gleefully point out the vindaloo, the ‘spicy chicken’ (is that a dish in India? I think not), or the pepper crab. And when the dish arrives laden with bread, rice, yoghurt and other chili-disguising substances, do you think it comes up to snuff? It does not.

The most galling part is looking over at a neighbouring Indian/Sri Lankan family, who are all happily tucking into something that was clearly not on the menu, and with an assortment of sambals, pickles and chutneys, of the sort that can make you travel through time and space. THIS SHITS ME MORE THAN I CAN SAY.

Bah. If anyone knows of a place in Melbourne where if you ask for a hot curry you get a hot curry, please let me know.

Anyway, while we’re on the topic of expat eccentricities, I think I’m long overdue for a brag on my new, renovated office space. The old man came in and helped me out (although mum just assured me that ‘men over 60 shouldn’t climb ladders’), and while he wished fervently for his own blog so he could write about my bullying ways, the finished job is superb.

The theme is: ‘Girl Reporter in the Last Outpost of Empire’. Check it:

I had been mindlessly collecting beautiful red-toned bits of fabric from around the world for no reason, and at last it became clear! These bits of material conceal a thousand ugly horrors.The old man also cleverly put up these awesome bamboo blinds. Mum gave me the cane palm and the dandy watering can.

There will be a wee seating area here. Think ostrich feather fans, dim lighting and a monkey in a fez who lights your cigarette and serves the drinks.

Fantastique tin globe from Savers ($70), pre-Berlin wall era. Hatstand from hard rubbish collection. ‘Rovering for Boys’ by Lord Baden-Powell, a priceless gift from my sister.

And of course no Girl Reporter’s office is complete without Sir Harry Paget Flashman…..

….or Rudolph Valentino…….

…or references to Shoeless Pashly, King of the Bongo Drums……

…..not to forget the Pimpernel. Richard E. Grant and Anthony Andrews’ versions, naturally. Do not talk to me about Leslie Howard.

Lookit! Look! Look how cool this is!!

Ah. I keep myself amused. Someone has to.

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12 thoughts on “A good hot curry

  1. i remember going out with greg once, and he ordered the hottest of hot curies. i also recall his eyes watering and nose running from the heat, as he then convinced everyone on the table to try it. alas this place is now closed.-mk

  2. I could make the curry you seek, although if we were to share it, it would be vegetarian. But, alas, I am in Seattle, nearly halfway around the world.I fear that to find what you want, you’ll need to make the acquainance of some friendly Australian Indians. Have you seen Mr. Melting Chocolate Eyes around recently? I bet his Mata Ji could help you. But you’d have to keep your hands of her son, that I guarantee.

  3. Oh, why are you and Bek going on about food? You’re making me hungry!I’ve never been fierce enough to handle hot curries; you’ll be very disappointed to know that a mild chicken korma is more my style. But most of the men I’ve dated have loved curries and the hotter the better. Same goes for mexican, the guys I used to hang with would always get the chef to make the dishes especially hot for them – we had to train a few waitresses who didn’t understand the system if they were new to the restaurant.I had a taste of one of their chilli prawns once. I think I still have a hole on my tongue… But I did see how you can get a high from it (which is why the boys liked it).And Leslie Howard. Yuk. So blah. “Oh Ashley, I love you, I’ve always loved you!!!” Viewer’s response: “Are you kidding me?!!! Why why why why whyyyyy!? Rhett is CLARK GABLE for f’s sake!!!!! Aaargh!”

  4. MK: the good ones always close, dang it.Mai: I should be delighted to accept your offer of a virtual curry! One of my good pals here is a veggo, and I have been handling it admirably I must say. I too am an excellent cook but sometimes you just need someone to cook it for you, dammit. Perhaps I will bail up mr chocolate eyes. In the name of research, I’m sure him mum will understand.EB: Only one word for Leslie Howard: flaccid.

  5. oooh i love your pad! i can imagine gentleman callers who look like errol flynn scaling the walls to whisk you out on a midnight spin in the idling MG outside.singapore surely is the land of the hot. i went to a thai restaurant over there (i don’t think there are many of those are there? anyway, it was all done in a singapore stylee, i.e. industrial strength chili), and it redefined thai food for me, not to mention the interior of my mouth. i have never had anything like it since.

  6. Totally flaccid. It’s like, what? You want WHO? BUT YOU COULD HAVE RHETT BUTLER FOR CHRISTSSAKE, WOMAN, SNAP OUT OF IT!!!!And our new local Indian is pretty darn hot. The usually mild dishes are enough to make me sweat.

  7. I think Kipling had a cubicle (cuddy?)like that while working for the Gazette in the Punjab.”If you can stomach a curry that leaves shreds of skin hanging off the roof of your mouth ..then yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!”

  8. Watching others eat the food you want while you’re being denied it for spurious reasons is maddening. I remember one time I went with a girl friend to a Thai restaurant in San Francisco, of all places. Some Thais were in there eating some of the most delectable-smelling tofu vegeatable dishes I’ve ever smelled. Even now, it makes my mouth water.We asked for ‘some of what they’re having.’ The proprietor sort of sneered at us, “Oh, no, no, You no eat. We make you some nice ham fried rice!’ He wouldn’t budge, no matter what we offered or threatened – including a civil rights lawsuit! – and we never got the food. (But I was a good little Sikh girl; I didn’t draw my kirpan.) It was one of the few times in my life I wished I had a man – Mani to be precise – to back me up. Between his height and width and turban and beard, he might have been able to sway the little [ethnic slur deleted], but I’m not sure.Your office looks divine. I love all the old unusual stuff. I agree about Mr. Howard. I used to think the same about Princess Leia seemingly prefering Luke to Han; luckily that was well-resolved.But there’s no accounting for taste, eh? Still I imagine that Clark would…forget it, I’m not going there!

  9. For heat, have you tried a combination of those little Thai jobbies and habaneros? Only you’ll need a mask of some kind and a powerful fan as you fry them.I actually took some to a restaurant I used to like, but they couldn’t seem to get their food hot enough. Surprisingly, they had never heard of habaneros. Worked like a charm. You could try that. Of course, if you want a nice, slow simmered curry, you’d have to come back the next day.

  10. Arrr thank ee all for your kind comments. Susanna, it’s less ‘Errol Flynn and a red MG’, more ‘beat up ’82 hatchback with leprosy, and yonder bogan wandered in from pub down road’. But we make do.Mai – a civil rights suit? Ho ho!! The Thai jobbies are brill, although I’ll never understand why you can’t find them in Thai restaurants over here. Habanjeros – am onto it.Hmm i’m thinking we should start a ‘Leslie Howard Unappreciation Society’ over here. Subtitled: ‘Why That Pale Creature With No Chin And No Bum Was Considered Such A Sex Symbol In The 40s Is Beyond Us’ group.

  11. Civil Rights Suit? Well, it was open and gross discrimination of public accommedation based on race, colour (excuse me, this is America, color), creed, age or country of national origin (gender and sexual orientation discrimination are/were legal).We actually could probably have won, if we hadn’t gotten laughed off the court calendar first.On a slightly serious note, though, I have never looked at the frustration of discrimination in quite the same way since.Did not lose my temper though; did not toss the Thai.

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