Have you ever had a chilli rush? It happens when you eat something so hot that you become flushed, you break into a sweat and you start hyperventilating which makes you feel light-headed. It’s a great feeling, I’m sure there are some endorphins involved somehow as well.
The thing about chilli, which a lot of people (who generally don’t enjoy hot food) don’t realise is that it’s not all about the heat. Whilst the heat obviously adds some excitement to the eating experience, it’s the flavour that’s the most important. I would rather have a tasty chilli sauce that’s not very hot than a hot chilli sauce that’s not very tasty. Ideally, I’d like a tasty chilli sauce that’s hot, but not too hot. Got it?
So, my problem is with restaurants who have chilli dishes on the menu, which describe themselves as hot or ‘only for the brave’ or some other junk, and then they are about as hot as Aloe yoghurt (which, incidentally is quite horrible). I understand that they can’t afford to have every second person sending back dishes because they can’t handle the hotness, however, what about the person who was looking forward to some heat and instead got boring? It’s frekking annoying. Make your arrabiata sauce less hot, because people will order it, but make the peri-peri chicken livers hot, damnit!
People who don’t like hot food are not going to order peri-peri chicken livers, regardless. So when someone like me orders it and is looking forward to a nice tasty, hot dish, why not give it to us?
Where can one get tasty, hot food in CT? The Jungle Curry at Chef Pon’s Asian Kitchen is frokken hot, but it tastes miff. The Vindaloo curry at Bukhara is hot and very tasty. The Butcher’s Grill House in Hout Bay (which is sadly closed now) used to serve the best peri-peri chicken livers and you could ask for it mild, hot or very hot… nice to have options.
Nando’s obviously has some hot stuff. I can eat the chicken or burgers extra hot, but I once made the mistake of ordering the chicken strips and rice extra hot (the rice is full of sauce). I nearly died and it hurt just as much on the way out later. I personally use Suzy’s Chilli at home. It’s home made by a friend in Durban and it’s tip-top. Even non-chilli eaters like it.
If you have any tips for good hot dishes at restaurants in CT, email me.