When is hot & spicy too hot & spicy?

I know we all have our tolerance levels when it comes to spicy food. Some enjoy the heat, while others do not. When does hot & spicy go from an attraction to a distraction?

1 Like

If I have to take a break from eating to let my mouth cool down and recover my taste buds, then it’s too spicy IMO.


If the spicy/hot obliterates all other ingredients flavor then it is too much for me. I enjoy hot but I want it to play nicely with the other components of the dish.


When I regret it the next day :smiley:


We eat a lot of spicy food in our house/family, so we all have a good heat tolerance. That being said, if my eyes are watering and my stomach is burning while I’m still eating, it’s too spicy.

Funny, I use to be a very big hot and spicy guy. I would eat things that would make me tear, sweat and my nostrils run. (not always the best reaction while eating). However with age has come a lessened tolerance for such spicy dishes.

Now I still like hot, however things like sriracha or normal hot sauces/ mustard gives me a sufficient kick, if my mouth goes numb or I start sweating etc. then it’s just a hot mess.

My wasabi story. I was eating sashimi one night when I could still tolerate HOT, and my wasabi to soy ratio was about 50/50. It was more or less mud that I would dip my sashimi into. Well as I dipped a piece slathered in wasabi mud into my mouth, as I pulled the chops sticks from my mouth I realized only the half the rice was between my sticks, meaning I didn’t bite through the fish entirely, leaving half hanging out of my mouth. In a the split second effort not to look like an uncouth slob, I decided to “slup” up the rest of the fish to get it into my mouth as fast as possible.

The “theory” worked much better on paper than in action, because as I “slurped” the fish, it flipped up before going into my mouth, launching a small cannonball of wasabi mud directly into my eye. The utter shock and immediate pain that followed, caused me to choke on what I had in my mouth, leading some residual wasabi mud to go “down the wrong pipe” as well.

I jump up from the bar in excruciating pain and distress from the wasabi to the eye, I can’t catch my breath because of the wasabi wrong tube, causing me to pretty much spit remaining chewed remnants in my mouth. It was quiet a scene…after which all I could say is “Check Please” !!

I should not be allowed out without proper adult supervision.


When I’m sweating and the other end starts rumbling.

Thanks, Junior for sharing your spicy event…

1 Like

I remember one evening years ago, during the grand opening week of a popular Italian restaurant in southern Westchester, the staff made a mix up in the kitchen. Somehow they placed the fra diavolo sauce in the wrong kettle and sure enough, the floor staff was unknowingly adding the spicy fra diavoli to dishes that were not called for. Well, you could see the faces on some of the patrons in the dining room before the mistake was discovered. It was funny, but a spicy shocker too…

1 Like

Can I invite you for another slup-fish-wasabi-mud-meal? :joy:

That say, I hope you don’t develop a wasabi phobia.

1 Like

“When is hot & spicy too hot and spicy?”

Well, the burning sensation with the trying to calm down with milk, yoghurt and whatever drink, used to be an indicator for me to stop going further with spicy food.

But recent travel to Malaysia and Cambodia tells me that successive spicy meals will usually followed by a numb sensation especially in my gums, my inner mouth and lips started slowly got swollen with an inflammation. Unfortunately, with age, this happened more and more often. The Thai travel in 2013 was my last time my mouth could still tolerate hot food (although not my guts).

Actually if anybody has tips to improve a bit the tolerance level… I would like to know.

Eat hot food on a regular basis. I do and I rarely find a dish too hot, although not crazy hot like I used too, but then I used to judge hot sauces for competitions. I think the last ones were for some of the first few NYC Annual Hot Sauce Expo’s.

I sometimes snack on very hot peppers in the mornings. Better than coffee for the wake up and the endorphins are nice. I eat very spicy on a regular basis and rarely find a dish too hot if it is made according to the heat level appropriate for the dish. Authentic sichuan can take it to the top, especially dishes with names like Tear in Eyes and other noodle dishes. Some Indonesian, Malaysian, Cambodian, Thai, and especially Laos dishes can be very hot. I haven’t had traditional Indian food that was too hot. Whether in India, or in the US or UK. Very few dishes are insanely hot unless you order one of those foolish dishes like “Phaal” which don’t taste very good and are only created to mess with people. (I’ve had the hottest version of NYC’s Brick Lane’s phaal. All heat and spice, and very boring flavored. I ate about half the dish, and it was crazy hot, but I’ve actually had hotter that were authentic dishes. Their lamb vindaloo used to be excellent, then it became very dry and all potatoes.)

I did recently have some peppers with a Vietnamese dish that came close to as hot as I would want these days. The dish wasn’t spicy when it was supposed to, so I asked for some sliced peppers to add. The owner tried to dissuade me, all he had were some special super hot Vietnamese peppers on hand in the kitchen, but they were so tasty. I did have to catch my breath for a few seconds before digging back in, then it was great. I eventually broke out in severe head sweats, and coughed and had to blow my nose every now and then. They now keep jalapenos on hand for requests for hot peppers, and a home made hot sauce from their super hots for folks like me, or Vietnamese customers who ask.

If anyone wants some super hot, hot sauces, I have some fermented ones of various types. They are not as hot as they could be since I remove the seeds. I want flavor, not just heat. I have some nice Habanero sauce, and then some very hot Ghost pepper and Carolina Reaper sauces (CR is THE hottest pepper), more than I can use and I vac packed and froze several quarts.

1 Like

Growing up in the Caribbean and eating spicy food from an early age I have a pretty high tolerance but I know when it’s too spicy for me when I start Hiccuping uncontrollably.
My too hot story begins after attempting to eat the pepper crab at Hutong in Kowloon…Got through 1/4 of the crab before I started hiccuping to the point I could not continue to eat and so it’s been ever since.

Malaysian food uses quite a bit of chilli peppers. My mom always toned it down a bit for us growing up, but when we’d visit family in Singapore and Malaysia, we’d end up eating the same spicy foods our family ate.

Many people seem to think all Indian food is spicy (or a curry!), when in actuality, most indian dishes are mild/medium heat, and there are only a couple of things that are very hot.

1 Like

Agreed. It was a revelation when we went to a “secret supper club” run by Punjabis. The dishes were much less wet than restaurant food and less chilli was used - which meant you could taste the other spices much better.


Didn’t quite know where to put this so flipped a coin mentally, and it got dropped here. Fun read.

1 Like

Too hot for DH when his head starts sweating; worst for me when I ate a whole red chile that was charred black that I mistook for a mushroom at a Sichaun place. It was at the start of the meal and was so uncomfortable I had to wet the napkin to keep applying to my lips and started downing glass after glass of water. Got sick to my stomach and needless to say my dinner was totally ruined. I’ve been more careful since then.

I used to have a very high tolerance for heat - would buy 40 lbs of extra hot Hatch chiles every fall, have them roasted and freeze. I did remove the skin and seeds beforehand so they were ready to go when cooking with them.

I’ve had an extremely dry mouth from meds the last 6 months or so and the lozenges used to provide moisture make my mouth sore. At its worst even black pepper was too hot or a combination pizza. Feel like such a wimp but have seen some improvement after discontinuing a med. Fingers crossed.

1 Like

Sweat around the eyes and eyes tearing. Happened to me having the ridiculously hot wings at a local wing joint. I don’t think that’s even happened to me when trying Phaal (hottest curry in NYC).

1 Like

One good thing about getting older is not needing to participate in testosterone fueled insanity. I’m only too guilty of overindulgence in the past. Now, a hint of heat in harmony with other flavors is much more satisfying.


When my nose starts to run, that’s when it is about as hot as I should go. I also used to go nuts with hot stuff but I’ve calmed down with age.

Who else has some hot sauce/food stories? I’ve got a few. Let me think about which one or two I should tell :slight_smile: