To many people, especially the
beginners, chili taste can be painfully hot, causing eyes
running with tears, heart beating like a drum, lips
unbearably swollen, face turning crimson red, with the whole
body especially the forehead fuming with sweats, whilst
others get choked and almost cough out the lungs! Despite
all these sufferings, chili addicts say 'give me more, give
(Pic: The much
feared yet much loved birdseye
chili, pluck one or two everyday before
going to office. fiery-foods.com)
But the hard-core
just cannot do away with chilies in their food.
There are many weird stories of chili craving:
Faithful chili addicts
pack along hot spices or chili products in their travels,
'smuggle' birdseye chili into Western restaurants to enhance steaks and
pork chops, alternate sweet desserts with bites
of chilies like what the Indonesians do.
consensus is that
even the best food is tasteless without
chilies. Beware, chili withdrawal syndrome is prevalent!
Instant chili noodle
Portable chili spices
The 'Feel Good' Factor of
The spread of Mexican, Thai, Asian and Szechuan
chili cuisine is kindling global love
for spicy dishes, even in regions like the US, where chili was once not popular or feared.
Why is chili popularity ever on the rise? It is undoubtedly
a matter of time (not too long) that a chili consumer
will develop that stubborn craving for chili, and eventually
finding it hard to get out of this addiction, in almost the
same manner a drug addict is not capable of leading a normal
live without the drug!
This developed craving for chili may be explained as
follows. When consumed, capsaicinoids from chili bind with the
nerve receptor in the nervous system. The nerve receptor
carries pain signal to the brain which accounts for the
chili burning sensation. This burning sensation creates a
false impression to the brain that the body temperature is
higher than it really is. The brain responds by raising
the heart beat, releasing endorphins, called the body's
and "happy hormones" to reduce the
pain; and increasing perspiration to drowse the burning. The
excessive sweating culminates with a cooling effect, giving
apleasant feeling of satisfaction.
Dave's Insanity Sauce
- hottest chili sauce
Dave Hirschkop, producer of Dave's Insanity Sauce,
got in the chili business after opening a Mexican restaurant
in Maryland in the early 1990s. He started serving superhot
sauces with fried chicken wings to discourage his customers
from lingering till late night at his restaurant.
Ironically, his customers kept coming back as they grew to
like the fiery sensation. Upon such discovery, he created and
introduced his extra hot chili sauce, later known as Dave's
Insanity Sauce, which for a while held the
title of "world's hottest sauce." In the 1990a, it became the only hot
sauce ever banned from the National Fiery Foods Show for
being too hot. It has been rated at 180,000
Scoville units compared with 2,500 - 5,000 for Tabasco sauce,
which, before the 1990s, was the hottest sauce known to the
Humans are the only mammals to eat chilies. Other species
apparently reckon that nasty tastes are a powerful
evolutionary signal that something may be poisonous. Paul
Rosin, a psychology professor at the University of
Pennsylvania, who is one of the world’s best-known
authorities on the effects of capsaicin, has had no success
in persuading rats to eat chilies, and very limited success
with dogs and chimpanzees.
The pungent fumes from chili have, in many occasions, triggered
in the fire alarming system, in the same manner it has
created false burning/high temperature impression in the
brain to trigger alarm to the body system:
Curry powder sparks airline fire alert: An Air India Boeing, on June 12,
2009, while en route from Mumbai
to Frankfurt (Germany) with 229 passengers, was turned back
after one hour's flight, when the cargo fire
alert was triggered. The crew activated the cargo fire
suppression system, declared emergency and returned to
Mumbai. Attending fire services found no trace of fire or
Engineers found no fault with the fire detection system as
well. Subsequent thorough scrutiny revealed that
the alert had been triggered by the
escape of particles from a bag containing 3 kg of
curry powder. The bag, belonging to a passenger
from the western Indian state of Gujarat, was removed before
the plane took off again after a 12-hour delay.
A pot of burning chili sparked fears of a
biological terror attack in central London.
Thai Nam Prik Pao chili sauce
It was reported in BBC news in London, that
firefighters wearing protective breathing apparatus were
called to D'Arblay Street, Soho, after reports of noxious
smoke filling the air. Police closed off several roads for
three hours and evacuated homes following the alert. Special
crew was deployed to break open the door at the Thai Cottage
Restaurant. To their relief, what they discovered to be the
cause of alarm was a 9 lb pot of chilies.
The story goes that the restaurant was preparing Nam Prik
Pao, a red-hot Thai dip which uses extra-hot burnt chilies.
In the course of preparation, people in
the vicinity who smelt the fume started coughing helplessly,
the smell prompted several members of the public to call the
emergency services, siren was triggered and many people were
rushing for shelter on fear of some sort of chemical attack.
According to the Thai lady who prepared the Nam Prik Pao,
"I saw the police closing off the roads
but I didn't know why. My boss rang me and said I had to get
out of the building because of a chemical attack."