Sexy Feast: The Changing Taste of a Tai Ho Dish

tai_ho_300Go to Tai Ho (despite repeated recommendations, it took me 11 years), and if you’re observant, you’ll notice two different-colored take-out menus at the front counter. If you’re staying, that’s your clue to ask your server for both menus, as they’ll otherwise just give you one–the Chinese one.

The other is also Chinese, but Korean-style. I asked one of the employees about this, and she said that while just about all of the employees are Chinese, the head chef is Korean-born Chinese. With a sizeable Korean population in North Seattle, this Bothell Way-based restaurant offers a separate menu that appeals to Korean tastes, but you have to request it.

Here I’ll repeat my mantra: Sex is like a menu. And you need to make sure you’re viewing the whole menu to vie for new and different experiences.

On that Korean-style menu I found tang-su-yuk, which is essentially Korean-style sweet and sour pork. A couple of people I know had raved about the tang-su-yuk, so I ordered it. Yeah, I know. Sweet and sour pork is like the missionary position of Chinese food: tantalizing at first, with lots to discover, but ultimately a bit bland, a fall-back position, overdone–one for the kids.

But because I sought out all menu options, I was having a virgin try at a new dish. Exciting! This version was different. Not necessarily better, but not as cloyingly sweet as the usual (which the server snidely said is actually American-style Chinese).

That’s good. I’m not always looking for sweet sex. Sure, sweet is nice, but sex isn’t always sweet. I’m looking for variety, an “uh-huh” moment that makes one experience different from the others.

Point is: People, like foods, come in different tastes–as well as textures and looks. You have to try to see what you like. And don’t expect simply sweetness. Bodies, and the fluids within, have different flavor profiles: sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. Maybe even bitter. And while these flavors can change partner to partner, they can change within a partner, too, depending on diet. (I’ll get to that another time.)

The more you appreciate the diversity in your food, the more you’ll likely appreciate it in your partner(s). Sometimes a little sourness is the perfect balance to some sweetness.

First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on September 2, 2010.

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