Monday, February 27, 2012

I'm a Wimp Who's Scared of Curry

I don’t know whether to attribute it to growing up in a Kosher household, which limited outside dining options, or to the fact that Jews stereotypically can’t handle heat, but I have a very limited palate when it comes to ethnic food. And spice. And the variety of the ethnic dishes I do eat.

Let me explain: When it comes to sushi, I grew up eating tuna rolls – tuna, rice, seaweed—cucumber rolls – cucumber, rice, seaweed – and avocado rolls – avocado, rice, seaweed. Mexican in the Goldman household consisted of a delicious casserole made from rice, beans, cheese, tuna, peppers, and mild salsa. No heat, no zingers.

I tried Thai food for the first time during my sophomore year at BU. My friends and I went to a restaurant called Noodle Street, which I still HIGHLY recommend, and a kind waitress advised that if I was new to Thai, I should try the “See ew” dish, because it was not all that different from the Chinese food that I did know. I tried it; I loved it. I tried my friend’s Pad Thai dish as well. It has been two years, and those are STILL the only Thai dishes I will order and eat.

I’ve never tried Indian. For context, I spent 4 months in London – which is arguably, the second-best place in the world to try Indian food – and I am still a wimp about it.

But why not? I mean, I live in Boston – a far cry from the ethnic food mecca that is New York City, but we hold our own. I have all sorts of ethnic delights around me, and yet I do not actively try them.

I will be the first to admit it. I am a wimp when it comes to trying ethnic food. I am scared of spice levels, I am scared of not knowing what to order, I am scared of not liking what I ordered. Am I the only one with these irrational fears?

I ask you for help fellow foodies: What dishes should I be trying? And am I alone in my fear of curry?


  1. Buffets are the king of trying new foods and almost all ethnic places have one. Especially useful for Indian and Thai. Find one drop a few dollars and if you hate everything there is usually a chicken fingers fall-back option.

    That way you can take one bite, or eat 2 plate-fulls.

  2. I didn't try any ethnic dishes until I was well into my 30s. Tastes change as you get older.

  3. Good suggestions -- I hadn't thought of a buffet. What are some of your favorites?

  4. Don't be afraid. My roommate who hates all things spicy went out with me and she LOVED it. Just ask for a recommendation from the waiter. They will tell you what is not spicy and guide you. Alternately, places such as that have lunch buffets where you can try a little bit of everything. And since it is a buffet, they usually make everything mild.