Something peculiar starts to happen whenever I go more than a few days without eating anything spicy.
Spirits start flagging; an irritability obliterates the charming and pleasant person I choose to believe I am. You see, in Singapore, where I grew up, almost everything is spicy — dinner, lunch, breakfast, even high tea, an occasion that’s often marked with curries and fiery noodles (and chased with clotted cream-slathered scones). Nothing is subtle; everything is jacked up with curry powder, peppers, tiny bird’s eye chilis.
At home in New York, where I am master of my own meals, these cravings aren’t a problem. But when I recently found myself at an artists’ retreat in the snowy woods of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in the very fortunate situation of not having to worry about making my own meals for a few weeks, my demons started to emerge.
Thankfully, a friend had a solution — there was an outstanding Indian restaurant in town, he said. It seemed like one that could certainly scratch my spicy Asian food itch. And while I was skeptical of an outstanding Indian restaurant existing in a not-incredibly-diverse stretch of upstate New York, I was desperate for a cure.
So, on a chilly Saturday, we piled into a car and off we went …