Some foods become legendary.
But if we speak about the so called “Death Noodles”, the legend went viral on the web when one man, Ben Sumadiwiria, claimed he went deaf for two minutes after enjoying a plate of it. His YouTube channel features several additional videos of he and his friends chowing down on noodle bowls that make literally their skin flush and their eyes water.
Apparently, nothing strange, as the base of the intense dish is quite innocuous: Indomie noodles, a type of instant spiced noodles made in Indonesia.
Even though they’re packaged noodles from a popular brand, it’s common to find it served up in Jakarta’s cafés and in warung (late-night hole-in-the-wall establishments).
Of course, each eatery offers its own culinary twist, including the variation Sumadiwiria tried, called Mie Goreng Pedas Mampus.
Better known as “Death Noodles,” the dish may taste like it was made directly in hell.
However, it comes from a warung known as Abang Adek, located in the backstreets of Jakarta.
There you can get various Indomies, customize your toppings and flavors, and pick your spice level.
The hottest category, pedas mampus, is made up of 100 to 150 ground-up bird’s eye chilies, also known as Thai chilies, that coat the normally innocent noodles.
According to the experts, a single bird’s eye chili reaches around 100,000 on the Scoville scale, a ranking system that measures the relative spiciness of the world’s hottest foods, making them 45 times hotter than a jalapeño.
That’s hot, but not at the top, as the spiciest chili on the planet is the Carolina Reaper, which sometimes hits up to 2,200,000 on the Scoville scale!
However, the reason why Death Noodles reach astronomical dimensions of searing heat is due the cumulative effect of all the peppers in one dish.
And, after they’re prepared, the noodles are said to reach a scorching Scoville rating of 20 million.
Just for comparison, Tabasco falls “just” at 5,000 on the scale!
Did you know? The heat-creating element in chili peppers is called “capsaicin”, and it might have evolved to protect the plants against fungus and other diseases.
Capsaicin irritates human cells, especially the mucous membranes that line the mouth, throat, stomach and eyes and small amounts cause a burning sensation as pain receptors in the membranes react to the irritant. With increasing concentrations, the body react in an effort to protect itself by producing snot and copious tears to try to form a barrier between itself and the capsaicin!
Images from web – Google Research