Food memories make fools of us all. That is the hypothesis I have come to after many bloody awful curries in Britain. I now believe that the nostalgic Poms who wail about the delicacy and savour of a British curry are having the same sort of perverse flashback that leads me to think fondly of scrambled eggs sprinkled with sugar. Which were great, I swear.
So I was a bit worried when I decided that I really, really liked our new local Thai place. Was it genuinely good, or was I just addled after 2 years of sweet gloopy sauces clinging to the roof of my mouth? We took some friends, recently arrived from Sydney and well-travelled in Asia, and they pronounced that yes, it has the freshness, vibrancy and balance that we expect from good Thai food in Sydney.
That's all right then.
Tonight I had lovely limey, fish-saucey tom yum gung as a starter, with lots of lemon grass and kaffir lime leaf and galangal (handy hint - Thais eat with spoon and fork, so if something is cut bigger than the spoon, it is a flavouring that you aren't expected to eat) and then a grilled beef salad. My salad was delicious - lovely tender meat, crisp vegetables, balanced dressing. But I consider it a mark of the superior levels of hospitality in Thai culture that 2 different waitresses were very upset that I left slices of chilli on the side of my plate. They swore that they would tell the chef that his food was too hot. I hope I was firm enough in telling them absolutely not to, that the flavour the chilli gave was just perfect but that I can't eat that many slices of tiny, incendiary birdseye chillis. Because honestly, I will be crushed if we go back and they have dumbed it down to yet another sweet, gloopy sauce.