After eating almost for 25 years, 6 months and 29 days now… I had just realised that something was really truly missing from the English world of language. One special word that the English speaking human had never really bothers to add when they first encountered it. One special word that have been missing up until now. One special word the English speaking human never ever thought of because they had never came across those type of food before. One special word that makes a huge different when you talk about food, especially food from Asia regions…
In Malay, we use the word “pedas”, pronounce as puh duz, for food that consist of chilli and anything that work as well as chilli when you eat it. You know, the sensation of getting your tongue burning and make you sweaty when you eat it. That is pedas. In Chinese, the word is “la”.
If you ask any English speaking human, the closest they can get to those two words I mentioned will be hot and spicy. Not really correct and accurate. Like I said, they do not have chillies as one of their main ingredients so we have to forgive them for not able to come up with a word specially for “my tongue is burning from eating this stupid chillies and can somebody get water or fire extinguisher to put this invisible fire on my tongue out”.
So why hot is not the correct word? Well, hot can also mean the food is very high in temperature, please use that glove to hold it when you eat it. Spicy mean that the food has a high content of herbs and spices but it does not have to burn your tongue down. When you put chillies in the food and serve it hot, it will start one of the stupidest conversations.
Alpha: “The food is hot, time to eat!”
Beta: “Yes, I know. With all the chillies in that, it is hot for sure.”
Alpha: “I mean, the food is still hot from the stove, let us eat it hot.”
Beta: “It will always be hot, even if you let it cool down.”
That is just one simple example. In Malay’s community, if the food is full of chillies, whether it is hot or cold, the word pedas will give the warning without any confusion. No more questions ask, get your cups and glasses ready, and filled with water to the brim before eating.
I really hope the word pedas or any other word that specifically mean the same thing as pedas without confusing with another meaning will take it place in the English dictionary. If not, the confusion to tell the English speaking human between the hot and the other hot will still rage on…