I like to think myself pretty lucky that I have a high tolerance for spicy food dishes.If I didn’t, then I would be missing out on so many awesome meals and choice, especially in Asia.
It is without fear of the “ring of fire” that I often order the spiciest on the menu, partly for the flavour and partly for the challenge.
In Shanghai we were treated to numerous fiery moments from market mini lobsters boiled in hottest lava of chilli to a spicy Szechuan feast.
The mini lobsters are a creature I’m told that used to live in the drains in Shanghai that are now bred in the masses to eat in the summertime. You can see huge pots of them being boiled up in hot chilli soup along the particular street we were taken to try them.
Initially we began with the level 2 or medium hot variety of lobster, which I found warm but not particularly a challenge. Though as a seasoned spice eater I was careful not to get the chilli on my lips or face as I ate them, though peeling the little buggers for only 2 teaspoons of deliciously tasty flesh was a little onerous, it ensured we savoured eat bite all the more after such hard work!
The level 3 spice was certainly not for the faint hearted and the boys both called it quits and went back to the medium heat. I survived, along with our lovely Chinese hostess, whilst the boys sweated it out we remained adamant the hotter version was far tastier *flex*.
Spicy resistance proven we were invited to a Szechuan feast for night two…
I’m so glad our hosts ordered for us as I would have never thought to order the dishes that appeared. Chicken salad (with a sneaky chili punch), jelly-like tofu with spicy sauce, a pork blood jelly and tofu skin hot-pot style dish with the fiery sauce of 1000 volcanoes, and some more frog which we now refer to as chicken-fish or squicken (squid x chicken).
The pork blood jelly and the sauce that accompanied it is by far one of the yummiest things i have EVER eaten, I was rather surprised at the rich taste and the fragrant, heady sauce. It included some mysteries little peppers that left your tongue almost completely numb if you accidentally bit into one… a blessing amongst such spiciness but made table conversation a little difficult.
My hot tip is when in Shanghai, make sure your Chinese mates do the ordering, it’s not only faster and far less frustrating, it also ensures you end up discovering new favourite foods!