Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Death by Chilli in Saigon

The question that I have been pondering in the last few days is, can a chilli kill? 
The reason I have been thinking about this is because a chilli, or a slice of chilli nearly killed me. Well almost. 
We were at a popular lunchtime spot called Quan An Ngon, here in Saigon. I was happily eating away at my Green Papaya Salad with Sliced Pigs Ears, and some Salad Rolls with Pork and Shrimp. These were going down very well, when I decided to try some of Lina's Hue Style Pho, which was fantastic.
But it needed a bit of heat to match the Salad I was eating, so I reached over with my chopstix and picked up a slice of green chilli, and said, "I am addicted to chilli, I need the heat", and popped it in my mouth.
Within two seconds it attached the back of my throat like a firebomb. I have never felt such pain before and so quickly. Lina said afterwards my face went red from the bottom up, and my eyes were watering.
I grabbed her coconut juice and finished it off, then downed a bottle of water I had in my bag. Still the pain was there. Was it ever going to go away. Finally after a few minutes it resided. 
Whilst this was going on, I was trying, and did a good job of keeping the pain in. No screams. Hopefully no one noticed around us that I was in incredible pain.
I always thought I could eat any chilli, as I really am addicted to them. But normally they just burn the front of my mouth, never my throat as this evil monster did. 
The last time I felt real pain was a few years ago in a restaurant in Palenque, Mexico, we were given some nachos and a dark red chilli dip to go with our beers. The chilli's burnt my lips and tongue, but I kept going back for more and more. The pain was intense, it felt as if the front of my mouth was on fire. I was red and sweating, but I still scooped up loads of the dip on my nachos, knowing what it was going to do to me. But I had to keep that feeling going.  Addiction.
After this recent incident, I have been wondering, could a chilli actually kill, and so how many times have these little devils struck. Should they be given a warning? Could you sue a restaurant or shop if you encountered a particularly fiery beast, and they never warned you.
But isn't that the fun, every chilli could be that ticking time bomb, waiting to strike when you least expect it. 
I will continue to play Russian Roulette with these little time bombs. I enjoy living life on the edge. 

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