Chilli Chilli Bang Bang
Part of the Red Hot Chili Peppers hit song Dani California includes the line, “ One for now and eleven for the later, ” they surely could not have been singing about red birds eye chillies. Prik ki nu daeng is the Thai name for the fiery red chillies, which roughly translates to Mouse Sh*t Chillies.
The chilli plant originates from South America and has many varieties of differing size, and excuse the pun, degrees of strength. Late in the 15th century chilli plants were brought over to Europe and around fifty years later, found there way into Asia. Ever since Asian cookery has used these little powder keg peppers to great effect. Nowadays they are an ingredient of many Thai dishes, Tom Yum Kung, Red Curry and the red-hot spicy papaya salad Som Tam are a few that have rolled off a burnt tongue.
The North and North Eastern provinces of Thailand are the major harvesters of the chilli plant, providing a high level food source and much needed income to some of the poorest regions of Thailand. High in Vitamin C, the chillies health benefits are offset against the high level of indigestion and stomach complications they can cause.
A story from the Thai Visa forum posted in 2004, tells of an annual chilli eating contest in North East Thailand. The competition was won by Mr Prachuap Mungkratungklang who ate eight ounces of chillies in 12 minutes. Many of the contestants fled the competition in seek of water, and one forum comment said, “Oh, you would want the toilet tissue in the refrigerator after that contest“, and was answered with, “…or wipe your butt with snowballs“. A more lengthy article detailing a similar 2002 contest at Bangkae, Bangkok, can be viewed on The Nation.
The British snack food giant Walkers Crisps, based in the English city of Leicester, and owned by US company Pepsico, have recently ventured into the red chilli market. Last year Walkers launched a competition to find a new all-conquering crisp flavour. The competition is now in its final stage with six new flavours competing for the £50,000 (2.5m baht) first prize. The winner of the ‘Do us a flavour’ final will also receive 1% of all future sales, possibly in excess of £55000 per year for its life cycle.
The six flavours competing the final are : Fish & Chips, Onion Bhaji, Cajun Squirrel, Crispy Duck & Hoisin, Builders Breakfast and Chilli & Chocolate. The chilli chocolate snack bar has been around for many years, but chilli and chocolate crisps, well, I just had to try them. To me they tasted just like smoky bacon… they were very disappointing.
Which flavour do you think would be the winner for you?
Photograph Red Hot Chilli Peppers © Friday | Dreamstime.com
I *miss* those chilis! In Malaysia we call them “cili api” or “fire chili” because wow it really dos set your mouth on fire! It is also called “cili padi” or “grain-of-rice chili” because of its size. Whenever I order form the local Thai restaurant here in Chicago, I always ask for EXTRA SPICY – sometimes they don’t disappoint 😀
I heard about the chili+chocolate bar… can’t imagine those two going together. And flavours on chips are usually disappointing, so I wouldn’t be surprised that that combo doesn’t work on that medium. Not sure if I’d want to try a “Fish&Chips” chip either, though :p
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I’m a bit of a wimp with chillies, I’d probably be looking for the snowballs after eating one 🙂 That man is a legend!! Love crisps, but not sure about chillie and chocolate – have you tried the fish and chips? I know Lynne isn’t keen, but I used to love those fish and chip-shaped, fish & chip-flavoured potato snacks you used to be able to get in England. Ah, crisps, don’t get me started, lol.
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HD I tried the “builders breakfast” flavour when last in the UK and I noticed my jeans slipped down onto my hips the next day!
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Lynne – I must admit red chillies are too hot for me.Some work colleagues reckon the chocolate bar is really nice and they now want to try the crisp snack version. I have never tried the chocolate but I am now on the look out.
Frances – I was glad to read you are up and about again.
I would have to be sat on a snowman to tackle anything more than one chilli.
I haven’t tried the fish and chips crisps yet but will do and I do remember the snack you mention but haven’t seen them for years, I used too really like them. I am a very big crisp fan myself and love pringles, thankfully you can buy them in Thailand.
Mike – I was feeling very tired after a 12 hour night shift when I read your comment, it gave me a good laugh. Very funny indeed. Thanks for that.
Martyn, the first time ,(before I married my Thai wife in America), I thought I would give this new Thai restaurant a try. well not knowing Thai food and not knowing what to order , I just told the waitress to bring me what the guy at the table behind me was eating . Well to make a long story short , they had grilled the chilis really well and they looked like bits of peanuts to me , so I took a huge bite and begin to chew ,I have never experienced anything so hot in my life and , I did’nt feel my lips for three days. Living in Thailand now for four and a half years I can eat some hot and spicey , just not like Ciejay, the sweat will be running down her brow, and she says , “this is just the way I like it.”
Malcolm you have so many stories from your wealth of experience throughout your life, maybe you should write a book. Four and a half years in Thailand should be worth a few chapters on it’s own.
If you click on the COMMENT LUV icon below and sign up, your latest post will be left on some of the sites you comment on. It’s a good link back to your blog.
Give my best wishes to Ciejay.
Chillies! Can’t get enough of them, the hotter the better, but they don’t do hot chillis here, it’s not the the tast of Bulgarians. I remember many a time that I was the ‘butt’ toilery humour as the chilli eatin competitions took place at University. I am probably glad I lived to tellt he tale and no super duper mice s*** vareties were around.
I have a distinct dislike for flavoured crisps, whatever the brand. At the end of the day the taste is chemical based in the main. no surprise you were disappointed. There is nothing like your home made crisps (from real potatoes, not moulded consituted potatoes paste) with a salt and chilli powder seasoning.
Finally 0 A tip I know, this was picked up in Sri Lanka, don’t drink beer with chillies it doesn’t cool you down, but fuesl the heat. Water or coconut milk is recommmended – Sri Lanka chillies are pretty thethal as well! A big phew from what I remember.
I’ll never forget the first time I had som Tam. The girlfriend said I would love it and when I asked her if it was hot she assured me it wasn’t hot.
After I put the fire out in my mouth and she stopped laughing I growled at her and she said ” I not lie teelac…som tam not hot it cold but very spicy”
I find myself being able to tackle some of the spicy dishes but I’m still very careful of the girlfriends advice.
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My French friends regard even my most mildly chilli offerings with something akin to horror. God knows what they’d make of some of the “country” dishes of Thailand.
I find yoghurt drinks very effective in cooling fires that have got out of control.
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Martin – Universities and beer fueled games, I’ve heard of many a tale like this, though as I never went to uni I can only imagine. I will remember the coconut milk tip but I do try to avoid such circumstances.
Talen – I’ve only ever had one mouthful of chilli chilli bang bang, that was enough for me. When Wilai eats it (everyday ) she goes very quiet with a determined, concentrated look on her face. If it’s a real spicy one she mutters “wiiiiii….phet….mark..mark.”
Your girlfriend sounds like she has a real good sense of humour.
Jon – A very good shout with the yoghurt tip, makes sense. Hope your fire (oven) is still burning bright. Try a few chillies in the beans.
When in the city of the slanted-eyed, do squint your eyes.
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Nice post! GA is also my biggest earning.
Hello Guru, what entice you to post an article. This article was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.