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The Red Hot Chilli Peppers yesterday

Reports have reached Thailand of a major terrorism scare in the heart of London recently, with Thailand heavily implicated. No, this was not the politicking of an erstwhile prime minister, but could this be the start of a Hot War between the East and West?

Shoppers in London’s now trendy red light district of Soho feared a terrorist gas attack when their eyes began to sting and water. Passers-by gasped for breath and a state of panic set in as London remains on high alert after recent intelligence suggested more terrorist attacks were imminent.

The police quickly sealed off several roads and evacuated homes and businesses in the area. Their investigations soon traced the source of the attack to the Thai Cottage restaurant where chef, Chalemchai Tangjariyapoon, was dry frying 4kg of bird’s eye chillies as he prepared a monstrous batch of nam prik pao to be used as a radioactive dip for prawn crackers.

After being evacuated from the kitchen by police, Thai Cottage waitress, Supranee Yodmuang, suggested to the authorities that perhaps it was the aroma of the frying chillies that had caused the alert, although this was initially dismissed as pure folly. Chalemchai later added that he could understand why non-Thais might not know what the pungent aroma was, but he was as surprised as anyone to have been the cause of such an orchestrated security reaction.

Naked Farang sympathises with the Londoners as I have also been temporarily blinded on numerous occasions as early morning street chefs on Soi Pipat prepared breakfast for the Silom office crews and I roared past on the back of a motorcycle taxi. There’s always a lot of talk, and rightly so, about the dangers of drunken motorcyclists being doused with buckets of water at Songkran, but these chilli chefs pose their own threats to road safety.

Perhaps Thailand could seize this opportunity to develop an alternative to mustard gas or pepper spray, although as Thais seem to be immune, it would have to be for export only.

Just in case you are thinking of starting your own terrorist attack, here is Chalemchai Tangjariyapoon’s recipe for industrial strength nam prik pao:

4 kg dried chillies
2 kg garlic
1 kg dried shrimp
2½ kg palm sugar
1 kg tamarind
4 litres vegetable oil

Don’t try this at home.

Paul Snowdon – October 7, 2007

Related Article – Thai Food

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