Heart to Heart: Eating Out Thai Style


Eating Out Thai Style
Dear Hillary,
Can you advise us (my wife and myself) as to what is the correct Thai way to eat with a group of Thai people? After the lockdown when restaurants are open again, we have been invited to join some of the staff a local restaurant, but we are just a bit afraid of the spicy food and the hygiene at local restaurants. Please tell us what is the etiquette and safe dishes to order.
George and Mildred

Dear George and Mildred,
Oooooh! Are you the same George and Mildred from the TV show about 20 years ago? Hillary gets some amazing and famous people in this column. Oooooh, I am so honored!

You will find that the fare at local restaurants will tend to be spicy, as that is to Thai taste, but there are many dishes without chilli. Just ask the senior Thai person in the group to advise and some very mild dishes will be brought to the table.

Thais will naturally share all the dishes with each other, and it does give you an opportunity to try several different curries. These days there is (usually) a serving spoon with each dish, so you don’t use the personal spoon you eat with, so it is a bit more hygienic. All stir-fries cooked on the spot are generally the best for hygiene, rather than curries that have been sitting in open pots for a few hours.

Try to just go with the flow, Petals. The Thai staff will be more nervous having you dining with them, than you will be eating with them. Just remember to say “Aroy, aroy” which means you are enjoying the food (even if you are not)!

Another vote for the Bar Girls
Dear Hillary,
My Thai wife and I are so glad to see you have had some letters recently showing the other (good) side of Thai marriages. Unfortunately, it is the ones that are in it to clean out the foreigner’s bank account that get all the space in the columns, not the ones who lead a perfectly normal life in a perfectly normal relationship. There’s lots of us with good marriages with girls who came from the bars. I don’t think you should be as hard on the girls as you are, Hillary.

Dear Jason,
You are quite correct when you say that the everyday ‘good’ marriages don’t get the same amount of articles printed as those which turn out to be disasters. This is easily explained as this is an ‘agony aunt’ feature, and so the people who write to me for advice, are generally in some sort of pain. People in good marriages aren’t in pain, so don’t write in. However, I am very pleased to get your letter, Petal, and those from the other two chaps a couple of weeks ago. Gives me faith in human nature again. You have no idea just how depressed I can get some days. Chocs and champers make the pain less.

Valentine’s day blues
Dear Hillary,
I am devastated. Last Valentine’s Day I didn’t get one from anyone. Being a handsome man, I was sure that the postman would be weighed down with cards and suchlike, but he either missed my mailbox, or dropped my mail off in the klong because it must have been too heavy. How was your Valentine’s Day, Hillary? I hope it was better than mine. I feel that nobody loves me, and I don’t know why!

Dear Gorgeous George,
What a blow to the ego February 14 must have been for you, and so long ago that you are still thinking about it! Not left waiting at the altar, but left waiting at the letterbox. What a fate. Oh my goodness! However, Hillary has the answer for you, my handsome Petal. Next year send some cards to yourself and you can noisily take them out after the postman has been, so everyone in the street knows you got some. The only other way to go about filling the letterbox is to stop being such a smug, self-opinionated bore, and people will start to like you, and some may even send you a real Valentine’s Day card. How was my day? Absolutely wonderful, stack of cards and flowers, though it was somewhat strange – most of the cards were addressed to “George.” Where exactly do you live? Close to my office?

Ben 10 and the Aliens
Dear Hillary,
Agony aunts in other newspapers like “Ask Abby” get their photos published with their advice column, but you have never shown us your picture. Are you shy or are you malformed in some way? There’s been some drawings of you, but we want the real deal. How about it, Hillary?

Dear Ben,
I do hope you are not THE Ben 10, because if you are, I’m a little old for you, Ben. Now, you impudent young man, I am neither shy nor malformed, but a picture with the column just wastes space. Anyway, a young lady can’t take any risks these days by having people recognize her. I remember when you could cross the street safely, but those days have gone, unless you actually live in Nakhon Nowhere (population 15 people and 23 buffalo, but one died this week, so make that 22). Have fun, Ben, but watch out for aliens!