Andy Ricker of Pok Pok on the Truth About Thai Chilis

School is in session.
School is in session. Photo: Harel Rintzler/Patrick McMullan

The Pok Pok and Whiskey Soda Lounge chef-owner answers seven food questions at Chopsticks and Marrow, and after revealing that bee larvae and red-ant eggs are surprisingly “delicious,” Ricker dives into decoding the mystique of ordering “Thai spicy” at restaurants, in which diners implore the kitchen to hit all curries and papaya salads with every chili pepper in the arsenal. “There is no standard for chile-hot so the whole “star” system in use at many restaurants has no real meaning,” writes Ricker, breaking down the complexities of peppers and other flavors. Unbearably spicy Thai food, he says, most often happens when a cook is asked to “chuck in a shitload of crushed dry chilies to satisfy the farang’s need to prove something to themselves or their friends.” [Chopsticks + Marrow, Earlier]