Eating the World’s Hottest Pepper and Barely Surviving to Tell the Tale

By Nomadic Matt | Published March 28th, 2013

tears of joy sign AustinA few weeks ago, I was in Austin, Texas for the SXSW music festival. Since I was in town for over 10 days, I wanted to get away from the festival and explore Austin. I asked some of my local friends to give me a list of their Austin. I wanted something more than what I’d find online. One of the items on that list was Tears of Joy, a hot sauce shop located downtown. There I could buy some of the world’s hottest sauces (conveniently located in a coffin-shaped shelf) and sample some of the sauces they make.

Now, I hate spicy food. Almost as much as I hate heights. While years of eating Thai food built up a mild tolerance for those spices, generally, I can’t handle spicy food. I never developed a taste for it. If I go out for Indian or Mexican, I get it as mild as possible.

But you only live once and I thought the image of me eating the Ghost Pepper would make a great video. The Ghost Pepper (Naga Bhut Jolokia) is considered the world’s hottest pepper with a Scoville heat rating of over one million.

On a bright sunny morning, I walked into the shop and got the hottest Ghost Pepper sauce they had as well as pure capsicum extract (i.e. death in bottle).

The results? Watch this video to see (I made a funny ending so watch until the end!):

It took me all day to recover and I must have drank two gallons of milk. It was an interesting experience but now that I’ve survived that, hot sauce doesn’t seem so bad anymore. It’s like throwing someone in the deep end to teach them to swim. If I can survive pure extract, I can survive spicy Indian food.

The next time you visit Austin, check out Tears of Joy for some burn-your-mouth hot sauces. You can sample many varieties and they provide ample milk to wash it down. If you like spicy food, you haven’t lived until you tried a bottled labeled “keep away from children.”

comments 44 Comments

Haha this was hilarious…you can barely talk! can’t believe you went back for more. i missed this place when I was in Austin. But yeah, once you’ve eaten really spicy stuff, it gets so much easier to eat spicy food in Asia.

NomadicMatt

I’ve been eating soem spicy food now because I figure “if I can survive a ghost pepper, I can eat anything.”

Haha, too funny…You’re a brave guy for going through that!

This video reminds me of the time I got some type of pepper powder in my eye in sixth grade. Holy Jesus I couldn’t see for a week!

NomadicMatt

Yikes! That sounds worse than my ghost pepper experience.

After seeing your tweet, I was wondering how you were going to do with that ghost chili! I broke out into a sweat just watching you taste it. Yowza!

NomadicMatt

It was an interesting experience.

Brings new meaning to the words “Hot Stuff!” :-) Good on ya, Matt. I’m especially impressed given the fact that you don’t enjoy spicy food.

Ummmm, I like spicy food and I wouldn’t even eat a ghost pepper. Cheers to you!

NomadicMatt

We can eat it together.

Doesn’t look THAT Badd.. you can handle some heat!

NomadicMatt

You try! :)

I’d stick some toilet paper in the freezer mate, that’s gonna have some nasty consequences.

Is it just as hot at the other end? ;P

NomadicMatt

Maybe….

I had an old co-worker that was into the extreme peppers like that. Supposedly, intensely spicy foods release greater quantities of serotonin in your system, which can give you the same contented feeling as a moderate amount of alcohol. I think whiskey is easier on the system than ghost peppers though:)

Impressive Matt! I love spicy food, but not sure how I would handle that! :)

Vee

Funny!!! I don’t think my Vietnamese self can attempt to even put that in my mouth…

You poor thing! I feel for you, I had a green currie in Thailand and thought my world was coming to a fiery end! I couldnt drink enough milk! I cant imagine what this would have been like!

Hi Matt, I salute you for conquering your fear. I can’t imagine myself eating those spicy food and drinking a lot of milk afterwards.

I tried ghost chili too, at Burning Man. It’s common there to gift things, so someone offered me a “spicy shot” and I thought nothing of it. He failed to tell me it was vodka infused with ghost chili! He then presented me with a guest book to write my experience in as I was tearing and snotting from the shot. JERK! (all in good fun, though)

NomadicMatt

Vodka and a ghost pepper? Yuck.

I would not call it a pleasant experience.

NomadicMatt

It didn’t but it was an interesting experience.

NomadicMatt

I’ll check it out the next time I want to go crazy.

that’s way awesome!
reminds me of when i was about 8 or so and i went vegetable picking with my cousins. we picked a hot pepper and i got dared to eat it. i took a teeny, tiny nibble from the end and finding it not to be hot, proudly proclaimed, ‘it’s so not hot’ and took a huge bite. i spent the next hour hopping around the field on one foot with a beet red face and drinking up everyone’s water bottles :-)

NomadicMatt

That’s an amazing feat for an 8 year old!

It is crazy to try it! But, I will do it for sure and I will be back with reviews!

Matt, I didn’t see any “tears of joy”. But goddamnit that’s some good travel video!

NomadicMatt

There’s going to be more of them!

shannon

Hey Matt, great video!

you can also use sugar packets to help with the heat as well in your mouth. If you can get to milk fast enough. :)

I use a touch of ghost pepper in my chili, but it’s a huge pot (5 lbs of beef and tons of other stuff) so you get the flavor and not all the heat. :)

Glad to see you survived.. you should come to Kentucky for the Derby!

You are indeed a brave man. I can’t believe you tried this but the end of your video is priceless. I guess now you’re conditioned for whatever “heat” comes your way! Great post.

Kara Ca Pow

You went back for more… wow.

Dan

Just watching the video makes me sweat. You’re a brave man.

Great job Matt! you’ve become my inspiration. I too wish to be a travel writer but so not want to work for anyone else except myself. I’ll just take an off from work for 15 days and will go to Caribbean Islands to see how much can I explore new things.

you’re very brave. wow.. now i wanna try it!

It’s always great to live to tell the tale. Me…I love spice. The hotter the better. Maybe I’ve just been living in Korea too long!

I love ghost peppers, but you really have to be insane to try to taste pure capsaicin extract. I’ve eaten every hot pepper there is, but I won’t even touch the pure extract. Nice work and thanks for sharing.

NomadicMatt

It’s not so bad.

Matt, the Ghost pepper is NOT the hottest in the world…the Trinidad scorpion is with some specimens coming in at 2 million SHU!!! Might not want to try that one out.

Hi Matt, I am impressed! I salute you for conquering your fear.. I too wish to be a travel writer but so not want to work for anyone else except myself

Luke

Well done taking on the Ghost Chilli. I hate to say it, but one of my mad countrymen has actually bred a chilli even hotter than that one. Ghost Chilli rates around 1,032,310 Scoville Units (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhut_Jolokia), but he has created the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T which weighs in at 1,463,700 Scoville Units. I have no idea why he made it this strong, but even the thought of it melts my mind.

NomadicMatt

I’ll take that on next!

Hello, this is crazy how you can eat this stuff( Ghost Chilli )- i try – and I have to go Hospital. My bloodpretion get down.

Sorry for my english. Grazy Person

Wow,Great job Matt! You’ve become my inspiration. I too wish to be a travel writer but so not want to work for anyone else except myself. I’ll just take an off from work for 15 days and will go to Caribbean Islands to see how much can I explore new things.

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