A word to the wise

When enjoying a top-quality Chinese dinner with my wife and Dan and Sarah Hoyt, I must remember:  don’t – I repeat, do not – DO NOT!!! – bite into one of those little dark red dried chili peppers that the Sichuan Chinese so thoughtfully include in some of their allegedly ‘milder’ dishes.

It took my eyes and nose about five minutes to stop running over, and another five minutes before I could converse at least semi-intelligently.




  1. A local gun store owner (now gone, unfortunately) had a funny story involving
    Mexican food, a waitress that had to cross the entire restaurant and climb a
    set of stairs to get bottles of cerveza. The sentence, "Don't eat the little black pepper!" was said twice, and was ignored both times.

    "Dos cervesas, POR FAVOR!"

  2. I've gotten used to jalapenos since I've moved to Texas, and even like a bit of habanero, even if I need a hand towel to continuously mop the sweat off of my head. But the manager of our German unit was in dire straits when we took him and others out for Tex-Mex (i.e., real Mexican — you can tell because it's found mostly in Texas nowadays). He grabbed a whole pepper off the nacho plate before anybody could stop him, and in about 5 seconds deeply regretted ignoring the frantic warnings. It would've made my eyes water a bit and my head sweat a lot, but that Rheinlander turned red and all but had steam shooting out of his ears! Poor guy! I honestly felt sorry for him, but still laughed. And ordered some milk for him.

  3. You know the food is hot when you're not only sweating from your forehead, but also your armpits, your back, and your "other" parts are wet!

  4. I did that once as a kid and, like you, I could hardly talk even with milk. My dad ate the rest of my dinner and commented about how great it tasted while I was practically writhing in my seat.

    Nope, still not funny after all these years.

    1. Yup, but they are used in drunken noodles (pad kee Mao) with Thai basil as the base for the dish…love me some Thai food! I don't eat it "American" spicy, I eat it Thai spicy!



  5. Been there, done that. Sugar will stop the burn quickly. I learned it after eating cream ceese filled jalapenos wrapped in bacon called Armadillo Eggs. Yum. But they cook hadn't taken out the seeds, so…. No, it wasn't Mary Poppins who gave that advice. She is a owner of Cowboys Restaurant in D'Hanis, TX. She's Hispanic, and said that not all Hispanics can take the heat, including herself. BTW, if you're ever in south Texas, a bit west of San Antonio, Cowboys has the best catfish. And get the Armadillo Eggs, but keep the sugar close, just in case, because you never know when they'll be hot.

  6. Sounds a little hotter than the Thai "medium" beef I got at that place around the corner from Texas Tech in Lubbock (the one in the former gas station, for those who know.) I finished the portion only because everyone was watching and I had to uphold my honor (I ate there several times a week). I could still feel every muscle in my esophagus and most of my stomach four hours later. It was sooo good, though.


  7. Gotta love those Chinese places that cut those peppers up in 2 mm square pieces so you can get their effect little by little. Of course, getting several in one bite can have unpleasant effects.

  8. I love those things! But I cut them up into smaller pieces, they're usually tough and hard to chew as shoe leather.

  9. Reminds me of the time in college when a I went with a few friends to a Sichuan style restaurant; one kid was from a small town and to him, chop suey was Chinese food and nobody ate Mexican food except the Mexicans. We told him they were miniature carrots. Knowing us, he was rightfully suspicious, and so one of us (cough, cough) had to eat one with a straight face to convince him.

  10. Crew lunch.
    New guy.
    Never had Chinese before.
    "Oh, bacon bits!"
    Too late.
    Whole pitcher of water in one swallow.

  11. Heh. Growing up in the west and southwest part of the US, I've pretty much become used to the heat. My digestive tract used to be fine with it too. Now that I'm getting older, not so much.

    Ring of Fire has a new meaning after eating a few of those. I stick to chinese mustard now. It doesn't have … after effects.

  12. I have to cheat and take an acid blocker before spicy food. Keeps it from burning on the way out. I eat a lot of spicy food though. Once ruined a friend's day when he made homemade chili.

    Friend How'd you like the chili?

    Me: It was good.

    Friend: Not too spicy?

    Me (perfectly serious): Was it supposed to be spicy?

    Friend: It had habanero peppers!

    Me: Oh. Er. It was really good.

  13. Yeah, that "Ring of Fire" also has me thinking C'MON ICE CREAM ! :^)

    I like jalapenos, but like habanero, those Asian szechuan peppers have too much heat. My tongue is dialing the fire department when I've accidentally bit into one of those.

  14. On my second date with my now wife we ate at a local Chinese restaurant and she had the "pepper steak" thinking American Bell peppers and steak. We were in a very dimly lit booth and she took a big bite and got one of those little black devils and started yelling "Hot!Hot!Hot!Hot!" We wound up holding the table's candle over her plate and picking through it trying to get them all picked out. She spent the rest of the meal suspiciously eying each bite after that.

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