How To Order Spicy Thai Food Properly

The best authentic Thai food will combine all types of flavors into one mouth-watering, perfectly balanced dish (via Rickshaw Thai Street Food). Salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and spicy are all blended to create a zesty mouthful that keeps you reaching eagerly for the next bite. However, if you aren't used to spicy foods, you might be in for an intense experience you didn't sign up for. Pretty soon after that first bite, your lips may become inflamed, which could lead your face to turn bright red while also bringing on sweat and tears. Eventually, even chugging ice water won't seem to help much.

"While spices like red and green chilies are used to add heat to a dish, other spices like cumin and cinnamon are used to create complex flavors. Meanwhile, ingredients like chili peppers, ginger, garlic, and peppercorn give Thai food the tingling spicy sensation that people love," explains Rickshaw Thai Street Food. If you don't want to worry about breathing fire the next time you go out for Thai, there's actually a right way to order your meal so that the spice isn't overpowering.

How to order Thai food with just the right level of heat

Writer and culinary King of Queens, Joe DiStefano, recalls once ordering Thai food the same way he had in the past, specifying that he'd like it prepared "Thai spicy" (via Serious Eats). He mused on his own reasoning behind this choice, and wasn't sure if it was "out of a sense of machismo." Nevertheless, his main goal was to experience the full effect of his meal without having the flavors diluted. So how do you order Thai food properly to avoid compromising the dish?

The next time you're looking for a tasty Thai dish with a kick and the waiter asks you if you want it spicy, instead of asking for it to be "Thai spicy," ask them to make it the way they would for a Thai person. "Thai cooks aren't out to prove anything to you, they know how the food is supposed to taste, according to their upbringing. They're just being accommodating," aficionado of Thai cuisine, Andy Ricker, told DiStefano. Ordering meals this way has worked well for DiStefano, ensuring that his food is infused with just the right level of heat. Now, he usually opts to use the seasoning caddies available at restaurants, which are called khruang phrung in Thai, that help you adjust the flavors to your liking.