Thursday, January 20, 2011

43 Thailand #3: Chili heat

Dishes on display
Hardly anyone in my family is a lightweight when it comes to spicy food. Even my grandma, since living with my parents, has developed a higher tolerance for heat. My mom told me that once she lost her hearing for a full minute because of eating a hot chili (it might have been a habanero).

Popping raw chiles has become kind of an addiction for me; the resultant endorphin rush is worth any temporary discomfort. My mom's experience has become my litmus test for whether something is too spicy for me: if I lose my hearing, I've gone too far (Fingers crossed it hasn't happened yet, not that I haven't pushed it a few times...).

On our first full day in Bangkok, we were at lunch with my Thai brother and his friend, and I saw the little red chilies innocently hanging out on the edge of the plate, thought "Why not?" and popped one into my mouth, to the mild horror and amusement of my dining companions.

At first I was thinking "This isn't so bad." But then, inevitably, the heat started building, the insides of my ears started to hurt, and my eyes began to water. To get through it I just kept eating rice (no water; that's the worst) and slowly, slowly, the fire abated. Totally worth it (I personally believe that subjecting myself to this trial set me up for the intensely spicy somptam that we had in Chiang Mai a few days later).

2 comments:

Sonja said...

This story makes me wish I'd eaten the chili that came as a garnish with my Tom Yum soup the other night!

Jaemus said...

If you haven't done it before, I'd recommend starting with a tiny bite, then see how it goes. If your ears hurt, then you should stop...at least at that point. Take it from a seasoned pro, heh.

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