A few days ago I went to the grocery store and bought some frozen meals, as I am wont to do. I’m a fan of Ethnic Gourmet. They are advertised as all natural and they taste damn yummy. So, I bought their Chicken Pad Thai without reading the box. Yesterday, I popped it into the microwave, and as I was waiting the painfully long three minutes for it to heat up I read the box. This is what I read:
Taste of Thai is an elegant balance of distinct and contrasting flavors such as coconut, lemongrass, chilies, ginger, and peanut blended together to achieve “Rot Chart”, Thai for “proper harmony of flavor”.
Rot Chart? They used the word ROT! I was about to eat something that strived to achieve ROT. I was so disgusted I almost didn’t eat the Chicken Pad Thai…. What? It smelled really good, and it tasted even better, but I couldn’t get over the word ROT on the box. I told my wife about my experience and she shrugged it off as a set of cultural differences. My response was, “But I’m American. I bought the food in America. Shouldn’t they adapt to their market?” “Are you going to eat it again,” she asked. “Of course,” I said, “but if I had read the box first I probably wouldn’t have bought it in the first place, therefore missing out on all that Rot Chart goodness.”
The lesson? For some reason, some cultures not only like rot, they chart it and put it in their gourmet food.