My son just turned five when he first tasted tom yam. We were at this Thai Express Outlet and I ordered a tomyam soup set for myself and him. I needed a fix for my tomyam craving and had planned to bring him for a second round later.
As usual, the little boy was curious and wanted to try everything and anything. The spiciness of the tomyam soup stinged him to tears. While he was still tearing, the sadistic mum in me said,”aiyo…. like that ar… Next time how to bring you to Thailand?!” (actually he had been to Bangkok before but back then, he was just a baby)
The little boy looked at me through his teary eyes and pouted,”why?”
me: This is tomyam soup. Tomyam dishes come from Thailand. The Thai people loves spicy stuff and of course, they love tomyam. If we were to bring you to Thailand, what are you going to eat? Everything is so spicy there!
My son quietened a little and proceeded to finish his bowl of rice and fish fillet from the tom yam soup, in between his tears.
Some months later, I was having laksa at the Toastbox. As usual, I gave him a small bowl of what i was having and told him that this would be spicy.
He turned all red and was choked by the spiciness. Again, tears followed. I went,” aiyo…. like that how…. If you cannot accept spicy food, there are a lot of food you would miss out.”
son: (pout) why?
me: We live in Asia. In this part of the world, spices are plentiful and a lot of food are cooked with spices. Many delicious food are hot and spicy. just like tomyam. We would have to end up eating mcd if you cannot take spicy food.
if we stay in other parts of the world eg in Europe, you can eat ketchup all your life for all i care. But in this tropical part of the globe, I think it’s better to learn to eat a little spicy.
There was no turning back for the little boy. A year on, he loves tomyam, curries, laksa, chilli sauce and even kimchi. Still a work in progress, but the child has definitely and surely making a conscious effort to embrace spicy food.
The next thing I would like to get my child to fall in love with are
– ginger slices/sauce
– raw onion slices
Wish me luck! I will keep you updated on the progress. *wink*