how come hot countries eat so much hot foods?

2 Feb

london 5.49pm

Digital StillCamera

curry soup, with chicken this time. its excellent for cold day, which is why i am surprised it is not invented by northerners, but is a dish of the hot countries, countries in the tropics, when it is so hot that eating this dish makes u sweat buckets and is very uncomfortable.

it sounds illogical to be eating such a hot sweaty dish on a hot sweaty day…you would expect people in the tropics to be eating salads, and inventing all kinds of dressings to go with it, but salads are  not big in the tropics. as a kid i never heard about salads as we here in uk eat it, as in these western countries consider to be what is typical of a dish we call salads.

in the tropics, if ever we eat any vegetables that are raw, it is likely to be in vinegar, like pickles. it is one of the strange paradox about the way cuisine is invented by people living in hot countries as opposed to what is invented when they live in cold countries.

the only reason i can make to account for it is that salads are made of raw vegetables, and since it is very difficult to get clean sterile water in the tropics, (you get a lot of water but it is difficult to ensure they are bacteria free), so that anyone serving salads run the risk of making people ill. boiling is the best way of killing germs, so it is perfectly logical to have dishes that involve boiling… so that is why all these hot countries invent  hot noodles soup dishes, and stews, or stir fried dishes where really hot woks are used that kill all the germs; all hot dishes both in terms of temperature and also chilli hot, which is itself antibacterial.

you can get a idea of how dangerous raw salads are by that food scare recently in america where the romaine lettuce got a bad press, in that they are asking people not to eat it, i thought some people have died from eating contaminated romaine lettuce but it seems not. so if even america with its strict hygiene and health and safety regulations can get this death by salads, how much easier it must be for such poisoning to happen in a less well developed country.

and it surprised me when i read it happening in america, because we here in the west are so used to the excellent hygiene regulations that govern all eating establishments and preparation of foods, that we take it for granted and assume it is a natural thing that we can eat raw salads anytime we like and not even bother to clean it thoroughly with sterile water.

talking of this reminds me of that time when  one of the asian women who i sat with when we were having the free pho, given by that eating place recently,  warned us against eating raw bean sprouts, and that even dipping it in hot broth is not safe… that is why  she dont eat her raw bean sprouts, which they have placed before her to add to her pho. i thought she was over reacting at the time… but now i come to think of it, if u have lived in the tropics, you would be aware of how dangerous raw vegetables can be.

and now i come to think of it, i have never eaten raw bean sprouts in all the time i grew up and lived in malaysia. and the only time we eat raw salads, was during chinese new year reunion dinner, when there will be raw chinese lettuce leaves which we will put minced pork in it , roll it with our hands and dip in hoi sin sauce and eat raw. i am trying to find a picture of that salad leaves , to illustrate it but i cannot find it in google. it has very frilly edges and is very common to see it garnishing a dish or eaten raw like the way we did. it must have a name, but i dont know what it is called. 

 

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