In our first installment of Chris V Food (Chris York being our
guinea pig social media editor) as part of our Food special, we sent him to test the most challenging chicken wings in London. Yes sir, the Naga Viper challenge at the Red Dog Saloon.
Here's what he had to say:
First, a bit of background...
The Naga rates 1,382,118 on the Scoville scale. For context, Tabasco sauce is a piddly 5,000. It's not far off police-grade pepper spray. These things are intense.
So, for some reason, the folk at the Red Dog Saloon decided it would be a good idea to make a food challenge out of them.
You're made to sign a waiver
Six chicken wings lathered in hot sauce in 10 minutes and then a five minute "burn time". No other food or drink is allowed to be consumed.
I'd been getting more and more apprehensive about this especially when I made the mistake of watching some of the numerous videos of others taking it on - and mostly failing.
Victoria was our server. Great, I thought, she'll put me at ease.
"Is it really as bad as it seems?" I asked.
"Yes. It's horrific."
I was then presented with two things that should never accompany a meal - gloves and a waiver.
The wings soon follow, the clock starts.
Now at this point I'm supposed to describe what it was like to eat them but I'm not sure I can.
Despite being egged on by my friends and a small group of co-diners, the astounding heat of the chillies consumed everything.
After one bite my eyes were streaming and I was sweating as if I'd just ran 30 miles in the Sahara - but I ploughed on.
After the third wing my hands started tingling, not through touching the sauce but just some weird reaction as my body was convinced I was trying to kill myself.
Somehow, I finished in a respectable 2:31 (the record is a mind-boggling 21 seconds). But now the really hard part started. Five minutes of hell.
The pain grew. The tingling in my hands got so intense I started to think I was having a stroke. Stomach cramps stabbed at my insides.
Every breath was like fire. I didn't know what to do with myself. Stop breathing?
Eventually it was over. I'd actually bloody gone and done it. I swiftly reached for a vanilla milkshake that had been delivered to soothe me, not that it helped much.
So, what did I get for my victory? A t-shirt but bragging rights mostly, the challenge is well-known in London and has a well-earned reputation.
Would I recommend it? That's a tough one. It takes a certain type of person to give it a go and of the roughly 30 people a week who try it, only two or three make it.
And I guess that's the reason to do it - you can be pretty smug if you win...