Some days we all feel a little bit down. We’re not firing on all cylinders, the day is a write-off, and you can’t even imagine it getting any better. Don’t despair any longer, you can eat your way out of your depression, you can literally feed your ego.
To put it more appropriately, you can “spice up your life.” One of the major benefits of eating spicy food is that it makes you feel good; spicy food helps to trigger the release of endorphins which are responsible for making you feel happy.
This brings me to the topic of this post, “Nam Tok.” For me, it’s the ultimate feel-good food. Being a traditional food dish from Thailand, it is no surprise that it is spicy. It is not spice alone though that makes Thailand’s Nam Tok the ultimate happy food. Other factors which contribute to the feel-good factor are the tangy flavor and the accompanying “sticky rice,” which makes you feel full and contented.
In Thailand, Nam Tok means waterfall, and that is a perfect name for this dish. The tangy flavor simply makes your mouth water; it tantalizes your taste buds and immediately gives you a lift.
You may begin to perspire as the chilli and spices take effect, and as the capsaicin (the active ingredient in chillies) reaches your brain, you will experience an endorphin rush. Your mood will lift, and the grey clouds will be banished from your head. From this moment on, you will become addicted to Nam Tok, the ultimate happy food.
Nam Tok is made with pork or beef, chilli, chilli powder, lime juice, onions/shallots, fish sauce, garlic, and mint or basil.
Nam Tok is definitely best served with lots of the juice that it is cooked in, enough to cover the bottom of the plate and wet every spoonful you eat. Like many of the most popular Thai dishes, Nam Tok can be fiery hot, and the best remedy for the effects of spicy food is to drink milk. You might also suffer from what I call “the ring of fire” when you go to the toilet the day after. I don’t believe there is a remedy for this.