Friday, February 14, 2014

The Weekly Open Thread: Extra Spicy Edition

Posted By on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Bites correspondent Steve Haruch recently sent me this L.A. Times story about what is purportedly the world's spiciest pizza — so hot that it allegedly made one man's tongue bleed. It's from The Little Italy Pizza Co. in Sleaford, England. It got me to thinking (which is no small feat, mind you): What is the spiciest thing I've eaten?

In Nashville, I once had a chicken vindaloo that was incredibly spicy, so much so that after a couple of hours I couldn't keep it down. It was probably 10 or 11 years ago, and frankly, I don't remember the name of the restaurant, though I know it's one that is no longer around. I've tasted a hot order of Prince's hot chicken (though I typically order medium), and that was quite spicy. And the papaya salad at King Market ordered at native-Thai heat is a strong contender.

I had a couple of Sichuan dishes at Chung King in San Gabriel, Calif., that were insanely spicy, but the source of the spiciness was Sichuan peppercorns, which provide a much different type of heat than, say, ghost peppers, cayenne or habaneros. It was almost like someone had poured sulfuric acid on my tongue, but in a good way. And as Nathaniel Rich noted in The New York Times, after eating real Sichan food such as Chung King's, your tongue is numb and water tastes like flat ginger ale, odd as that may sound.

So what's the spiciest thing you've eaten? What's your favorite spicy food here in Nashville?

And furthermore, do you even like spicy food? I enjoy a certain amount of heat, but frankly, if food is extremely hot, it seems to ruin the experience, and overwhelm any other flavor. And it can seem like a contest, whether it's making or eating the spiciest dish. Of course, one person's "ridiculously spicy" is another person's "just right." (See: Scene editor Jim Ridley.)

And what else has got ya talking?

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