Mexican chilies other than jalapenos are hard as hell to find in Bangkok, we got ’em, so get ’em while they’re hot!
No, not the country, (though we love all things Latin American), but well…chiles. It’s what you add to your meal in whole, powdered, dried, whatever form to entice an uncontrollable sea of emotions whether it be a jovial sense of having the perfect meal to the contrition of needing to spend the night in the washroom. It’s time everyone learned what puts us above the rest in terms of Mexican authenticity and you may be sick of hearing it, but why and how we purport authentic authentic authentic.
Chiles have been a remarkable commodity since their introduction from the America’s to the rest of the world in the late 1400’s. And they still are here in Thailand; just check out some of the forums on foreigners trying to grow anything besides Thai Bird’s Eye chiles with little to no luck. Another futile attempt to get a little taste on what they’ve been missing back home. It’s not unheard of to see Thai farmers having success with jalapenos and habaneros but they come with a variety of problems not to mention the lack of knowledge growing them. You’d think with the similar climates, Mexican chiles would be fairly easy to grow in Thailand, but if you’ve watched Thai farmers try and adapt to something completely new, work in a crop rotation that didn’t include rice this season, rice next season, and rice every season, work in companion planting, etc. then you’d understand you won’t be seeing too many anaheim or poblano peppers in bulk at your local Tops anytime soon. Hell, even Villa Markets run out of jalapenos every now and then with them being out of season for the first quarter of the year. It does help that Villa imports jalapenos every now and then but jalapenos are going to be the only pepper you might find in on an occasionally consistent basis.
Thanks to the draconian set of laws here on the importing of foodstuffs or Thailand’s flavor of the month on which country they’d be wiling to import from, your choices are fairly limited on good homemade Mexican food without a little fusion here and there. Fusion isn’t a horrible thing but it reminds me of when we had some guests from Hong Kong wanting to try some nice Thai food at The Blue Elephant. I remember being told that the crew liked everything but lamb and I scoffed that there wouldn’t be lamb on a Thai menu. There it was, looking back up at my face, there was lamb on the menu; it isn’t horrible to see chefs trying their hands out on different ways to improve on a traditional dish but it of course you sacrifice tradition in the process. When you think of Thai food, you think of their larb, or their somtams, and their tomyums, or whatever it is they’ve managed to take from Chinese and Indian cuisines and “Thaify”. It’s precisely what we’re trying to fight at The Mexican. When you think of Mexican food, then we want to give you what you’re picturing in front of you on your table. It could be a Chile Relleno with an actual stuffed poblano, it could be a Chicken Enchilada with homemade salsa verde made from the tomatillos we’ve managed to acquire. Either way we’re working on getting you that hearty, zesty, filling, and/or spicy Mexican meal that you’ve been dreaming about after deciding to leave home to stay in the Kingdom. It all starts with those chiles and we’ll build on from that.
So the next set of posts from this blog are going to be about the different varieties of chiles that we get, what they are, what we do with them, and why it is you aren’t going to find Bird’s Eye chile in your salsa.