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Spicy food and being tall

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Spicy food and being tall

Postby TheDutchGaijin » Thu 01.14.2010 2:26 pm

Hey guys and girls,

I have two simple silly questions that were just on my mind that I just had to ask.
I'll be in Japan in April for a few months so maybe I can mentally prepare myself with these answers :lol: (kidding ofcourse)

Spicy food. I know there's not much of it in Japan, or perhaps almost none at all.
That's the reason I ask, because that's what i've been told/i've been reading, and I love spicy food.
I'd love to know some dishes that I can eat in Japan that are pretty spicy.
The only dish I can think of is Curry, or perhaps hot wings from some fastfood joint.
Is that true? And what other food is there that I could try? (and perhaps you know a great place that I need to try)

Second question, for the people who lived a few years in Japan.
I'm quite tall, 204cm, 6'7".
How will the reaction towards me be? A silly questions perhaps. I know I'm not the only tall person around, and I know if I'm in Tokyo I'd probably hardly get noticed since it's more common to see tall foreigners, but still...
I will be in other cities as well, even the smaller ones.
Will my size be a problem there? :D (low ceilings, doors, etc)

Thanks for answering!
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Re: Spicy food and being tall

Postby chikara » Thu 01.14.2010 7:08 pm

Welcome to TJP.

I can't think of any Japanese food that is particularly spicy. Some eateries will have jars of shichimi on the table so you can spice up any dish. The Japanese have adopted curry and you can get curry, curry rice and curry udon however my experience was that spice wise these tended to be towards the mild end of the spectrum.

I have eaten in Indian restaurants in both Tokyo and Kyoto which were operated by ethnic Indians. The food there was the spiciest I have eaten in Japan but, as in this country also, the heat level varies from restaurant to restaurant for the same dish.

As for being tall, I haven't lived in Japan a few years nor am I 204cm tall (only 187cm) but my advice to you would be to get in the habit of ducking. :)
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Re: Spicy food and being tall

Postby tōkai devotee » Fri 01.15.2010 5:23 am

There may not be any Japanese food which is spicy, but depending on where you are going to be staying, you may be able to find a Korean restaurant. Where I lived in Japan there were some great Korean resaurants and the food was extra spicy!!

As for being tall, at just 167cm, I know nothing about that :wink: but I agree with Chikara-san, you'll need to do a lot of ducking through doorways etc. Also be prepared for a lot of attention from Japanese girls (assuming that you're male of course!) They love foreign guys and seem to particularly like the tall ones.
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Re: Spicy food and being tall

Postby spin13 » Fri 01.15.2010 7:11 am

As others have said, Japanese cuisine is pretty lacking when it comes to spicy food so you'll have to look to something else while you're here. Korean and Indian restaurants are the most ubiquitous choices, though I'm sure you can find some other ethnic restaurants that serve spicy food. For hot wings you'll have to go to an American restaurant, of which there aren't many except for the big chains like TGIF.

In Tokyo the 新大久保 (Shin-Okubo) area is well known for the high number of Korean shops and restaurants. Lesser known but still marked on some maps is the area near 鶯谷 (Uguisudani) and 入谷 (Iriya) just north of Ueno. Just expect to pay in multiples of what you would in Korea.
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Re: Spicy food and being tall

Postby JaySee » Fri 01.15.2010 9:54 am

As for the length issue, I'm 1.84m and I've been on the receiving end of quite a few "oh wow, you're tall!" remarks made by Japanese people (in fact, some of my friends seem to enjoy bringing up that topic at least once every time I talk to them). Explaining to these people that I'm not particularly tall because 1.84m is exactly the average height of Dutch men is often followed by looks of bewilderment. Though rather than finding it weird, most people I've talked to just find it interesting or even 'cool'.

And I agree with Chikara and Tokai Devotee on the ducking part, even the doors on trains are too low for me (though only by a few cms) :P
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Re: Spicy food and being tall

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 01.15.2010 12:37 pm

JaySee wrote:As for the length issue, I'm 1.84m and I've been on the receiving end of quite a few "oh wow, you're tall!" remarks made by Japanese people (in fact, some of my friends seem to enjoy bringing up that topic at least once every time I talk to them). Explaining to these people that I'm not particularly tall because 1.84m is exactly the average height of Dutch men is often followed by looks of bewilderment. Though rather than finding it weird, most people I've talked to just find it interesting or even 'cool'.

And I agree with Chikara and Tokai Devotee on the ducking part, even the doors on trains are too low for me (though only by a few cms) :P


just figure if you are around 6 feet tall (what's what 183 cm?) you will be considered tall.. anything over that and you are definately going to draw attention. as a missionary, at just over 5'11 (181cm) I was the shortest of 4 of us(that shared an apartment).. with the tallest being 6'9, another at 6'7 and the third at 6'3.. (the 6'7 and 6'9 were able to look through the upper window of the genkan at homes we visited.. Now imagine the reaction when mom comes to the door to see a man's face in a window where she normally sees the sun.. We heard a few gasps when they came to the door.. lol
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Re: Spicy food and being tall

Postby TheDutchGaijin » Fri 01.15.2010 3:49 pm

So I have to search for some Korean or Indian restaurants then :)
That won't be much of a problem.
It's not like I NEED to eat it. I just think it would be nice to have a nice spicy meal after a few weeks/months.

@ JaySee
Cool to see another Dutch guy here ^^

@ tokai devotee
Yes, I'm male. And the attention from Japanese girls sounds good :D

And yes, I figured that I would have a problem in subways and such, where I even have problems here, and especially in the UK.
I just wondered with doors and ceilings.

Thanks for the answers everyone :)
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Re: Spicy food and being tall

Postby Infidel » Fri 01.15.2010 5:27 pm

Strange, I always found both Korean and Indian food rather mild. Tai on the other hand, is just right. Just ask for maximum spicy before ordering.
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Re: Spicy food and being tall

Postby hyperconjugated » Sat 01.16.2010 9:53 am

Infidel wrote:Strange, I always found both Korean and Indian food rather mild. Tai on the other hand, is just right. Just ask for maximum spicy before ordering.

I've had some delicious Indian food that made my lips turn numb by the end of the meal ;) Are you sure asked for the maximus hotness? I've noticed that they often tone down the hotness because what's hot for average Westerner is a joke for the natives...
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Re: Spicy food and being tall

Postby TheDutchGaijin » Sat 01.16.2010 3:09 pm

hyperconjugated wrote:
Infidel wrote:Strange, I always found both Korean and Indian food rather mild. Tai on the other hand, is just right. Just ask for maximum spicy before ordering.

I've had some delicious Indian food that made my lips turn numb by the end of the meal ;) Are you sure asked for the maximus hotness? I've noticed that they often tone down the hotness because what's hot for average Westerner is a joke for the natives...

Indeed. There's a Vietnamese place here where you can get some delicious hot spicy food.
I almost have trouble eating it, since it's so hot. But the people who sell it even put some sambal (chilli based sauce) on top of that. If I had to put that in my mouth, I would need 10min to calm my tongue down. I wouldn't want another bite.

If I had the dish before and know how spicy it is, I could ask for maximum spiciness.
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Re: Spicy food and being tall

Postby Infidel » Sat 01.16.2010 3:28 pm

hyperconjugated wrote:
Infidel wrote:Strange, I always found both Korean and Indian food rather mild. Tai on the other hand, is just right. Just ask for maximum spicy before ordering.

I've had some delicious Indian food that made my lips turn numb by the end of the meal ;) Are you sure asked for the maximus hotness? I've noticed that they often tone down the hotness because what's hot for average Westerner is a joke for the natives...


I've never seen Indian come in degrees of hotness. Their spicy dish is just curry, and yellow curry is very bland and tastes about as spicy as dirt with potatoes and rice. Tai red and green curry is good, but still needs a some chilis to make it interesting.
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Re: Spicy food and being tall

Postby spin13 » Sun 01.17.2010 8:32 am

Infidel wrote:I've never seen Indian come in degrees of hotness. Their spicy dish is just curry, and yellow curry is very bland and tastes about as spicy as dirt with potatoes and rice.

You should try going to better Indian restaurants.
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Re: Spicy food and being tall

Postby Pork Chop » Sun 01.17.2010 12:43 pm

spin13 wrote:
Infidel wrote:I've never seen Indian come in degrees of hotness. Their spicy dish is just curry, and yellow curry is very bland and tastes about as spicy as dirt with potatoes and rice.

You should try going to better Indian restaurants.


quoted for truth

have you tried the green mint "sauce" that goes with the salad?
that stuff has some pretty legitimate fire.

there are plenty of other dishes that can turn up the heat.

that being said, one of the hottest dishes i've ever had was some home made thai papaya salad, made "thai hot".

eating spicy food after a hard workout, when your pores are open is a cheap and easy way to add some fire to your food.
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Re: Spicy food and being tall

Postby chikara » Sun 01.17.2010 8:56 pm

Infidel wrote:Strange, I always found both Korean and Indian food rather mild. Tai on the other hand, is just right. Just ask for maximum spicy before ordering.

If you find Indian food milder than Thai food then you are probably not ordering the right dishes although, as I said in my earlier post, spice level does vary from restaurant to restaurant and is often set to cater for local tastes. I am away from home for a couple of days and had a vindaloo last night from the local Indian (the only one in this town) and although the flavour was very good I did not even raise a sweat eating it. On the other hand I always have a towel handy when eating the vindaloo from my local Indian and I have only ever had their tindaloo once as it was at the limit of my tolerance.

I find the variation is the same with Thai food. When ordering Thai noodles from the noodle bar I use regularly I always ask for "extra hot".
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Re: Spicy food and being tall

Postby Infidel » Sun 01.17.2010 9:54 pm

Pork Chop wrote:have you tried the green mint "sauce" that goes with the salad?
that stuff has some pretty legitimate fire.


Yea, it was kinda minty. I grade it as hot as ranch dressing.

that being said, one of the hottest dishes i've ever had was some home made thai papaya salad, made "thai hot"..


Yes, when I want hot, I think Thai.
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