Eating the World’s Hottest Pepper

A pile of colorful hot peppers
Updated: 04/01/2018 | April 1st, 2018

A 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.

The main compound that gives chilies their signature kick is called capsaicin. The amount of heat a pepper packs has to do with the level of capsaicin it contains. The more capsaicin, the hotter the people. This measured on the Scoville scale, which ranks varieties based on their capsaicin concentration.

So, 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 a bottle).

The results? Watch this video to see (I made a funny ending so watch until the end!) what happens when you eat the world’s hottest pepper, especially when you aren’t used to spicy foods:

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 bottle labeled “Keep Away From Children.”

It took me all day to recover and I must have drank at least 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.

How to visit Tears of Joy
Tears of Joy is located at 618 E 6th Street. Opening hours are 10:30am-6pm (M-Sa), and 12pm-4pm (Su).


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