The Best Dessert is a Dill Pickle

I have been writing on this blog since 2010. I guess that makes me a longtime food blogger, even though I have yet to make money from my blog. All the same, the cumulative knowledge earned from 10+ years of blogging would suggest that I know how to get eyeballs to my website. This is very much not true.

Considering how long I have been blogging, very few people actually read my blog. This means that either I am a very stubborn person, or very good at denial, or both. All of which is to say that only recently have I learned how to win “engagement” with my audience. It’s to make them really, really mad with trash opinions that will create controversy.

I learned this, of course, from a guy named Elon Musk, who appears to write trash opinions on Twitter for a living. This, of course, keeps his name in the news, and his website in the news. It doesn’t matter that much of that news is negative and/or mean; the only thing that matters in this brave new world is that people are talking about you (see: Ye, Ted Cruz).

Which is all a roundabout way of saying that TasteAtlas (no, I will not link to it) is the Elon Musk of food opinions. If you do not understand what I mean by this, let me put it another way: their opinions are trash. I know that this is what they want me (and you as well) to think, and even more importantly, to say and write. I hate that I have fallen into their very cleverly laid trap. The truth is, when their completely arbitrary and strange lists of “world’s best cuisines” and “world’s best dishes” initially made little splashes on the news, I steered away from them, recognizing them for the attention trolls that they are. I recognized this from seeing that they put Romanian food at number four on the “world’s best cuisines” list, before Mexican food, and that they made Polish pierogis number three on the “world’s best traditional food” list while placing satay and tonkatsu at the bottom. “What a troll,” I thought, before clicking onto the more important business of playing my Redecor app. But here I am, talking about it (finally! I know they have been waiting) because I now realize what it is that they were trying to do: teach me how to be a professional troll, the Yoda to my Luke of learning the great art of Elon Muskery.

So here it is, a list of trash opinions. They are (mostly) about food, of course. And, unlike, I suspect, TasteAtlas, these are my truly, sincerely held opinions. Make of them what you will.

  • The Japanese have ruined both steak and whisky. Steak is supposed to taste like beef. Wagyu beef is 1. more of an exercise in texture; 2. impossible to enjoy for more than a few bites, even with the addition of freshly grated wasabi, and 3. should be cooked to medium at the very rarest, in order to activate the fat. When it is cooked medium-rare, it is simply an overfatty slab of beef. As for their whisky, yes, it is too smooth. I like mine smelling like tires on fire and burning your throat as it goes down. This way, I can remind myself that I am alive.
  • Sweet pickles are an abomination against God. I’m sorry. I know there are uses for them. But when I get a sandwich with a pickle on the side, and then bite into said pickle to discover that it is sweet, I want to throw the entire plate out the window. Don’t psyche me out like that. It is cruel, and a war crime.
  • “Catch and Release” is a great movie, and perfectly cast.
  • When Asian restaurants make hamburgers, they are always too high. You are supposed to be able to fit it into your mouth. Why are you piling a million things on top of each other like you are playing edible Jenga? I do not want to have to eat my hamburger in two horizontal halves. That is not the point of a hamburger.
  • Alternatively, never order nam prik or gang som from a Thai restaurant abroad unless you are absolutely sure of the kitchen. Just believe me on this one.
  • Japanese rolls that involve tempura flakes and/or mayonnaise are horrible and should be served in restaurants that specialize only in these kinds of rolls, so that you can know for sure where to avoid.
  • I’ve heard respected critics say that The Cup is a silly restaurant. No offense, but that restaurant isn’t meant for them. It’s not even meant for me. It’s a restaurant for rich Thai people who went to boarding school in England and miss the food they had at that time, but with some Thai flair.
  • Tom yum should not have coconut milk in it. Don’t even get me started on cow milk or evaporated milk. The addition of milk changes the entire flavor profile. It makes it into an entirely different dish. So name it something else! Just don’t call it tom yum, which an astringent, tangy, bracing, herbalicious soup, not sweet, creamy, or unctuous.
  • Out of all the stupid decisions that the show runners made on “Game of Thrones”, the dumbest was the decision to add a character named Talisa who would be Robb Stark’s love match. Robb Stark married a girl he had sex with because he did not want her to have a bastard baby, because he saw how his own mother treated Jon, who was supposedly a bastard. He did not want to create another Jon. So the fact that the Red Wedding happened is because of Catelyn Stark’s own shitty actions and karma, not because Robb fell in love with some random chick. (Also, George R.R. Martin will never finish the series. Let’s stop pretending that this will happen.)
  • Mieng kum is erroneously referred to online as a Northern Thai dish. The truth is that the dish as we know it today is about as Northern Thai as I am Miss Argentina. Yes, it was first presented by Dhara Devi at Rama V’s court, featuring pickled mieng leaves. That dish is not the dish that we are presented with today, featuring wild betel leaves and an assortment of ingredients that can be placed into your leaf (helpfully folded into a cup) that includes smoked coconut, peanuts and dried shrimp, before being topped with a savory-sweet dipping sauce. This dish, with the flavors and ingredients that I just mentioned? It’s a Central Thai dish. You will find it at Central Thai restaurants. And if you see it in a restaurant in Northern Thailand, it’s a dead giveaway that the owners of that restaurant are Central Thai.
Mieng kana at Klang Soi Restaurant in Bangkok

Now, here’s a bonus opinion on mieng kum: I prefer mieng ka na. The leaves are sturdier and there is usually the addition of some deep-fried pork skin, which is delicious in any iteration. My favorite in Bangkok is sold at Klang Soi (12, 1 Sukhumvit 49/9 Alley,  02 391 4988, BTS: Phrom Phong) which is on the grounds of the Klang Soi Racquet Club. It’s close to another personal favorite, Lert Ros, which has a cool Thai diner-y vibe, but Klang Soi’s food is better (their gaeng nuea, or beef green curry, is the closest that I’ve found in taste to my husband’s family’s green curry, which is delicious.) If I have time on my own, I try to head over there, order a deep-fried toast with minced pork on top (with cucumber ajad of course), and tuck into a mieng ka na before deciding on the rest of my lunch (they have good daily specials). Try it, it’s fun. And, yet another bonus opinion: eating alone is better because you don’t have to share.


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8 responses to “The Best Dessert is a Dill Pickle

  1. Hmm, what a rant! 🙂 Loved it. So, in conclusion, if George R.R. Martin eats sweet pickles is he a war crime?

  2. What about dishes in (overseas) Thai restaurants that don’t use food that’s cut to bite-size? (Trailing behind that is sushi suffering from the same crime…)

  3. ajarn777

    Today’s malarkey in cyberspace is all of these and more: witty/intelligent/perspicacious/thought-proving/on point/meaningful/sometimes discombobulating/never dull. You continue to whet my appetite for food and the absurdities of life. What’s more, the sun has just come out here in chilly North London…I have taken to indulging my own brand of malarkey in cyberspace by signing off with a double-edged mantra: Mine’s a pint of Krug, squire. And, remember this, I avoid idiomatic English like the plague!

  4. Alan Katz

    Feuds are good. How about a blog titled “What’s Wrong with Trip Advisor?”

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