Tong Dang Thai – "Doesn’t Like Travelling nor Long Walks on the Beach"

tong dang thai - pad thai
I have noticed a very odd similarity amongst single people.

Not that I have been scanning personal ads or use any of those sites with 29 dimensions, or surf that dating space disguised as a “social network.” No really, I swear, it was “for research.”

But it seems clear to me that every person who is single, or looking, or kind of looking (because if you’re ugly, I’m taken), likes “long walks on the beach” and “loves to travel.” In some form another, either or both show up on every single person’s profile.

It’s hard for me to believe that these people are being serious. I thought “longs walk on the beach” and “love to travel” were some funny-ha-ha cliches that poked fun at personal ads. Funny, as in, this is what everyone says on their personal ads, but not really, because it’s lame.

But it’s not funny. It is real. People really do say they like long walks on the beach. Why? Why do people say they like long walks on the beach? It doesn’t even have to be qualified as “long walks,” but just “walking on the beach.”

No seriously. No one really likes walking on the disgusting, germ-infested beach, do they? Like in a long white skirt that rustles and ruffles in soft whispers around their long, lean, tanned legs, barefoot, holding their sandals by the strappy ankle straps and letting them sway lazily at their sides. That’s a Summer’s Eve commercial, not the Girl from Ipanema. That is not real life. No one likes walking on the beach. They just say they do.

The other thing I don’t understand is why everyone says they love to travel. I mean, do they really luuuuurve it? Is travelling their hobby? Do they travel every weekend? Do they spend every extra dollar on travel? If you ask any person if he or she loves to travel, I bet there is not one single person who would say “no.” Travel? she’ll twinkle in her twinkly little voice. Oh, I LOVE to travel, she’ll coo, as she bats her eyelashes and smiles as if she jet-sets all over the world in her Richard Tyler ankle-strap wedges and oversized sunglasses. The ones she wears while she’s taking a long walk on the beach.

Everyone says they love to travel. In fact, according to my *ahem* research, everyone loves to travel! Everyone loves longs walks on the beach. We should all just have one big lovefest field trip to the beach! Right?



Okay, maaaybe they do. But if they “maybe” do, why? Why?

Because these are things that people don’t necessarily dislike, but highlighting the fact that they do like it in some way makes them…ooh la la. Traveling makes a person adventurous, worldly and cosmopolitan. Long walks on the beach makes a person romantic, pensive, and artistic, especially if the long walks are enjoyed at sunset. These interests make a person sound cool and sophisticated and w00t!!11! exciting.

But then I have to wonder, if it’s just that they don’t mind travelling. “I don’t mind travel,” is different from “I like to travel.”

So then okay, maybe you don’t mind travelling. Then why do you choose to mention it? Does that mean if you don’t mention something, you don’t like it? What about, say, ice cream? You don’t mind ice cream, right? Then why didn’t you say “I like ice cream?”

There needs to be a rule on the Internet that says you are not allowed to say you like something unless you really do enjoy exposing your bare feet in rapid, unsanitary succession to everyone else’s exfoliated foot skin; that you find it sexy and/or romantic to end up with black, tarry sand stuck not only to the bottom of your feet, but all the way up to your mid-shin; that you’d love to share a moment with someone in every under-age-five kid’s personal human litterbox.

I’m sorry. I just had to get that off my chest, which is part of “medium, athletic” body type, which is what everyone else is, too, because “athletic” is sexy and certainly goes with being able to walk on the beach.

And saying “I love Thai food” somehow makes the person gastronomically down wi’ it. Trendy. Hip to exotic cuisines. Thai is almost…sexy. Thai food makes a person…hot.

Thai food.

This is what I am discovering about my mild aversion to Thai food. It is becoming less about not liking certain flavors: coconut, lemongrass, lime, and cilantro. It is obvious to me that my aversion to Thai food has more to do with people using it as a sign of “worldliness.” For whatever reason, it bothers me a lot. It seems…fake.

The reality is, I don’t mind Thai food. Sure, as in any cuisine, there are always things for which I don’t particularly care, like the aforementioned lemongrass, coconut, lime, and cilantro. But in Thai restaurants, I am always able to find things I can eat. I have to, because we always seem to end up in a Thai restaurant at least once a month. Tong Dang Thai in Brentwood is one of the few Asian restaurants within walking distance of me, and when I’m having an insta-crave moment for soy sauce and spice, my only other options are Chang’s of Brentwood, Chin Chin, or the Chinese Chicken Salad at Cheesecake Factory. Since we know how I feel about those places, Tong Dang Thai it is!

tong dang thai, brentwood, los angeles, ca - fried tofu
i can be convinced with fried tofu
tong dang thai, brentwood, los angeles, ca - pad thai
sweet doesn’t do it for me

Fried Tofu is an appetizer to which I was first introduced during an Elvis concert. Rather, we were eating at Palms Thai in Hollywood, and as Thai Elvis gyrated and crooned, I fell in love with the crispy fried tofu. Tong Dang’s fried tofu is not nearly as light, flaky and crisp. In fact, it is oftentimes hard and chewy on the outside, and I certainly don’t ever use the sweet, peanut-flavored sauce that accompanies it, but I love the silky soft, steaming hot inside. Always, of course, covered with a generous spoonful of

However, I know for sure that I will never be able to fully appreciate Pad Thai in whatever form, wherever it is served. It has no evidence of lemongrass nor coconut, and I’m pretty sure that I saw neither a frilly mini fan of cilantro leaf. What I am certain will keep me away from Pad Thai forever are the overwhelming sweetness and the crushed peanuts. It’s like one giant plate of peanut butter and jelly pasta. I appreciate the vibrant colors, the freshness of the vegetables. I appreciate that Pad Thai appeals to many people. It just doesn’t appeal to me.

I don’t love travel. I don’t like the beach, unless I’m looking at it from the patio of Casa Del Mar with a glass of wine. But as long as there is Fried Tofu, I like Thai food.

Tong Dang Thai
11677 San Vicente Boulevard (Brentwood Plaza, 3rd Floor)
Brentwood, CA 90049

** a year ago today, i had that, you know, that farmers’ market after-glow **

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 peachiee July 1, 2006 at 6:02 pm

You had Thai food again? Tsk tsk tsk! Where’s the stick figure drawing of you looking sullen?


2 peachiee July 1, 2006 at 6:02 pm

You had Thai food again? Tsk tsk tsk! Where’s the stick figure drawing of you looking sullen?


3 KT July 5, 2006 at 11:05 pm

Sarah! Don’t you know that when a woman says she loves to travel, that’s code for the fact that she’s looking for a man with enough money to travel?

It doesn’t mean, “I love to travel!” as in, “It’s my favorite hobby!” It means, “I love to be taken on fabulous vacations where someone else pays for everything.”

And really, who doesn’t love that?


4 sarah July 8, 2006 at 7:43 pm

peach: i know. what on earth was i thinking?!?!

kt: omg. you are so hilariously right. LOL! what about the “long walks on the beach?” what does that really mean?


5 Muhammad Saleem July 30, 2006 at 7:29 pm

I’m just glad I’m not ugly, or myspace for that matter.


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