There are often times in our lives that we look at the foolish actions of others and simply ask, ‘Why?’ Why do people use the repetitive phrase “ATM machine?” Why would anyone want to keep up with the Kardashians? And what is the draw with spicy food challenges?
Don’t get me wrong, I love spicy foods. After being a total wimp as a kid, I eventually grew up, and also moved to the Hunan Province in China, one of the spiciest regions of the world. But even then, I still wouldn’t agree to consume mass quantities of what are deemed the spiciest of foods.
Still, these incredibly hot dishes are out there for those folks
insane brave enough to try them, and we decided to do a round-up of five of the very hottest. I’d warn you against attempting to eat any of these foods, but I really don’t need to: Each restaurant will already take care of that part.
Four Horseman Burger at Chunky’s, San Antonio
Let us count the ways the Four Horseman Burger from Chunky’s in San Antonio looks like a bad idea right away. First, the restaurant’s website has a video of Man v. Food stopping by to try it — on their home page! (Host Adam Richman referred to the first bite as “already a billion times hotter than I anticipated.”) Second, the ingredients are listed as containing fresh jalapeño peppers, serrano peppers, a habanero sauce, and a ghost pepper. Third, the challenge comes with rubber gloves for competitors to wear and a “chuck bucket” for hurling, since it is apparently a common occurrence. Fourth, you get your picture on the wall if you complete it. And fifth and finally (although there are definitely more reasons), although there’s a solid collection of champions on the website, barely anyone is smiling, most have inflamed, red mouths, and some are even lying down. Why, people? Why?!
Great Balls of Fire at Salvador Molly’s, Portland, Ore.
Man v. Food stopped by Salvador Molly’s in Portland, Oregon, to try its “Great Balls of Fire Challenge,” which consists of eating five meatballs with sauce. How hard could this be? Well, when the meatballs are actually habanero cheese fritters, apparently it’s pretty darn difficult. As a note, ordering basically any meal that involves getting your picture on the wall (or HALL of FLAME, in this case) afterward is probably a bad idea. How exactly does it taste? According to an IBetYouWont.com commentator, “as if I had swallowed a porcupine dipped in battery acid.”
Inferno Soup at Nitally’s, St. Petersburg, Fla.
For the past five years, misguided diners wish death wishes have been attempting the Inferno Soup Challenge at Nitally’s Thai-Mex in St. Petersburg. The 48-ounce soup mostly contains Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers (generally ranked as the second spiciest in the world), and as far as eating challenges go, the stakes have never been higher. Champions get awarded a cash prize of $100 if they win, which is quite generous — but if they lost, it will cost them $65, on top of the fact that they’re probably breathing fire and oozing molten lava straight out of their pores. One final warning: It took two years before someone managed to successfully finish the soup.
Phaal Curry at Brick Lane Curry House, New York City
When it comes to hot Indian dishes, the Phaal Curry at Brick Lane Curry in New York City is absolutely the hottest. (How… hot… is… it?) It’s so hot that the menu describes the dish as “more pain and sweat than flavor!” It’s so hot that a verbal disclaimer must be read to (and repeated by) all diners who order it for liability purposes, and people who successfully complete the challenge get a certificate celebrating their feat (and a beer). It’s so hot that Man v. Food paid a visit to the restaurant a few years ago. And it’s so hot that Arthur Bovino, an OG writer from the retro days of The Daily Meal, cried 16 minutes into his meal. For the record, phaal is an orange-brown curry made with vinegar-soaked red chiles, green chiles, black pepper, white chili powder, habanero julienne, and a large dosage of pure danger.
Spicy Tuna Rolls at Bushido, Charleston, S.C.
Although the Spicy Tuna Roll Challenge at Bushido in Charleston, South Carolina, isn’t available as a regular menu item anymore, it still pops up as a special from time to time, and it’s one of the more ridiculous eating challenges around even to this day. It sounds simple at first: Eat 10 spicy tuna hand rolls, with no time limit. Because of that caveat, numerous people have successfully completed the challenge — usually over the course of several months. (Months!) As you probably guessed, the habanero and black nori-infused sushi pieces get increasingly hotter as you progress through them, and diners have had to quit due to overly-watery eyes, hearing loss, and intense pain. Not just a burning mouth, but actual, general, physical pain. Maybe it’s for the best that this dish is only occasionally on the menu.