How do people eat hot peppers at almost every meal?
September 5, 2006 5:22 AM Subscribe
How do people in certain regions (e.g. Sichuan, Korea, Thailand) eat super-spicy foods at almost every meal and not be in constant discomfort?
posted by rxrfrx to Food & Drink (33 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I love eating foods that are high in flavor as well as spicy heat, like kimchi jigae (spicy kimchi stew), larb (minced meat with thai chiles), mirchi ka salan (South Indian curry based on lots of whole chiles), and the various Sichuan red-oil dishes.
However, I'm often in agony for some part of the day after. The actual burning on the way out isn't too bad, but it's the part leading up to that: the remains of the hot foods burning their way through my digestive tract, causing a painful aching in my large intestine.
As an American, I can eat these spicy foods once every few days, and alternate with something milder. However, in countries where this cuisine is ubiquitous and traditional, people seem to eat this stuff constantly. How do they do it? Do they just become immune to the internal effects of capsacain after eating it so much?
Also, what about kids? In the US, kids generally aren't offered super-spicy foods. At what age do kids start eating lots of chiles in these countries? And what about food-preparers? I've seen Indian housewives and cooks squatting on the ground, preparing massive quantities of chiles on a stone grinding apparatus, of course with their bare hands. This seems like the quantity of hot chile that won't even come off with soap and scrubbing. Are there a lot more incidents of accidental eye/genital contamination with hot peppers in these countries? Or are people just more careful, or immune to these effects?
One last question: is there anything I can do to mitigate the intestinal pain? Some food or drug I can eat along with the spicy food?