There aren't many negatives to being white but when it comes to spicy food, there's a major one: nobody will serve you any. They figure you can't handle it, or worse, you'll drop dead on them in mid-chew. I've been on a Dan Dan noodle hunt here in Paris and got a recommendation from a reader, Daddy D, who pointed me to Noodle No 1. Today was perfect timing, a frosty winter day that would be laughable after a mouthful of fiery Sichuan noodles. I did everything I could to signal I wasn't a typical gwai lo, I even ordered in Mandarin, but it just wasn't to be.....
No issue with the service - they were very attentive and brought out the noodles quickly. One bite in, nothing. Two bites in - mild heat. "Maybe the heat will build and hit me" I thought to myself as I continued. The noodles were tender, the broth was tasty - but the heat never came. Not even a little. Memo to self: next Mandarin class, learn how to say "take back these white-man noodles and give me the damned hot ones!"
Sorry Daddy D - either you have more sensitive taste buds than I or they've watered em down since the last time you went.