Hotting up

Well, it may be hotting up at times out there in the Dili streets but for me, there’s another form of hotting up.

In my early 20s, I lived in a “group house” for a while and quite a number of very silly things happened during that period. One of them occured with my mate John when the house consisted of me, John and 2 members of the opposite sex. John and I developed a very male thing of competing over who could cook the hottest curry. Yes, I admit that beer was involved and we had a quaint “thing” about notching up the number of beers consumed on the fridge door. (I won and still have the graphical beer consumption chart specifically designed to stir up the female members of the household about our superior drinking performance ! Yeah, I know – it’s a boy thing.)

Anyway, the curry competition was quite competitive and involved both exceeding the last curry in heat and seeing who could last the longest before breaking out into an uncontrollable sweat.

This “training” has stood me in good stead but it is possible that I have met my match. I have a few acquaintances who are exponents of the constant acquisition of hot chili sauces and line their kitchen walls with any number of sauces from all over the world. I think they may also have met their match.

Soon after the destruction of the Taibesse markets, I passed by and felt obliged to buy something from the half dozen vendors (out of a hundred or so) who were valiantly trying to resume some sort of normality out of the mess. I bought some woven baskets for a US dollar and 3 small sachets of chili paste for 10 cents a sachet. Each sachet held about 2 teaspoons of chili paste in a small clear plastic bag tied with string.

I tried some of this chili paste and merely passed a teaspoon over one of these sachets and my scalp levitated from my head. I reckon a teaspoon of this stuff would give half a bottle of tequila a run for its money for sheer effect.

You can buy these 20mm chilis at the markets most of the time and often one can buy chili paste which has been bottled in re-used drink bottles (often small juice bottles). It will take a while to sample all of this sinus clearing material but someone has to do it.

Yep, it sure is a chili lovers delight here.

5 thoughts on “Hotting up

  1. Is Timorese food generally hot, or is the chili powder an anamoly?

    I was also wondering if the Lusofonia Games had any impact on the Timorese? There was very little coverage of it here (the States), but I’m sure there had to be some sense of coverage there. Speaking of which, are there daily or weekly newspapers in Dili?

  2. Thanks for the info from the previous posting.

    How stupid would I look if I wore a sweatband there? I too, seem to sweat a lot. My hair goes completly wet. However, that doesn’t occur if I wear a sweatband. What do you think?

  3. At risk of abuse, Timorese cuisine does not get anywhere near the 5 great world cuisines. I don’t think chili is a significant part of all food here so no need to worry about that. Chili powder !!! Gad … what were you thinking … they grow chilis here so you buy the fresh article or crushed chili paste (known in Indonesian as sambal).

    As for the Lusofonia Games, I claim 100% ignorance.

    As for newspapers, the weekly English language “Timor Sun” ceased back in May but the “Timor Post”, “Suara Timor Lorosae” and “Diario” are published daily. You need one of Indonesian, Portuguese or Tetun to read these.

    As for headbands (sweatbands on the head), this is a really bad fashion mistake. It was OK for John McEnroe 15 years ago but I wouldn’t be seen dead in one. You have to uphold some standards. Enormous sweat stains are infinitely more acceptable than headbands !

  4. Hi Squatter
    I do appreciate your website and style of communication, since it has provided me with valuable insider information about Dili, which you do not get easlily from other sources. We (my wife and two kids) will be coming to Dili in January 07 to work in a new EU/GTZ rural development programme. Although you seem to be allergic to unveiling your identity, we wouldn’t mind inviting you for a couple of cold beers when we arrive.

  5. I am also allergic to cat fur and curiously, politicians who can not lie straight in bed.

    As long as the cold beer is some freshly brewed boutique beer, preferably a red beer or dark beer of the more fully hopped variety, even one that meets German pure beer laws and around the 5% alcohol mark and …

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