Indonesia is known for some hellishly spicy foods but there's none, to date, spicier than that of the 'death noodle' variety. These seemingly inconspicuous noodles start with pre-packaged noodles which is likely what has so many people fooled as to their true nature. When preparing them, though... that's when the flames of the underworld seem to leap up and show diners a new type of scorch.
These noodles are not recommended for those who appreciate a casual spice or those who consider Buffalo wings to be the epitome of their maximum spice threshold. It's no secret that noodles - specifically ramen - can bring the promise of a sweat-inducing heat level, but these noodles take the cake. Or, rather, the entire fire. Make no jokes about it, these noodles are hot and they're also partially responsible for temporarily deafening one man who tried them back in 2014. How is this possible? In order to understand the heat, we must first understand the noodle. Determining how these spicy little bowls are made is the first step taken in what's considered to be a very spicy kitchen.
Jakarta And Indomies
In the backstreets of Jakarta, according to Atlas Obscura, not only can these noodles, called Indomies, be found, but they can also be customized. In their average form, they're not all that unbearable, with a typical level of heat that's customary with these quick-cooking noodles. Indomies are specific to Indonesia and are actually found all over the country, very much as ramen is to Japan. They can be found anywhere from late-night dives to cafes around Jakarta, especially, and this is where the option to have them death-defyingly spicy comes into play. While every restaurant, bar, and cafe will have its own twist on Indomies, there's only one variety that makes use of more than 100 spicy chilies. That's right... By agreeing to eat these noodles, you're not just requesting spice - you're requesting well over one-hundred chilies with it.
When ordering these chaotic noodles, they're known as Mie Goreng Pedas Mampus. Specifically, they're found at Abang Adek and can be customized according to your preferences, which includes anything from a specific flavor to toppings. in the case of pedas mampus, this includes bird's eye chilies that have been ground up and added to the noodles. In one serving, anywhere from 100 to 150 chilies can be ground up and added to the bowl. Before those who have tried ghost peppers or Carolina reapers and survived have a chance to chime in, keep in mind that for this dish it's not necessarily the level of the pepper's spice - but more so the sheer number of peppers that the dish is comprised of. Once you've eaten 100 or more of the formerly mentioned peppers in one sitting, then you can chime in on this dish!
In terms of heat measurements, every pepper is placed on a scale that's called the Scoville scale. This implies a pepper's cumulative rating in terms of spice level and, in essence, how painful it will be to consume each one. Comparatively, the ghost pepper sits somewhere between 855,000 and 1,041,427, whereas the Carolina reaper sits between 1,400,000 and 2,200,000. Compare these to a jalapeño which sits between 2,500 and 8,000 or cayenne pepper which sits between 30,000 and 50,000, and suddenly the picture starts to become clear. The bird's eye chili sits around 1,000,000 on the Scoville scale which means on a typical day, one of these chilies is comparable to a ghost pepper. However, if you take 100 of these peppers, crush them up into a fine powder, and add them to a single bowl of noodles, their rating on the Scoville scale skyrockets to somewhere around 20 million.
How Does This Affect One Physically?
Anyone who has ever made the mistake of going too heavy on the cayenne pepper or trying a dish that was just out of their spice comfort level can attest to the fact that it's an unpleasant feeling. Eating a dish with a Scoville level of nearly 20 million, however, isn't just unpleasant - it's downright painful. The effects that a dish like this can vary from physical - such as sweating and tearing at the eyes - to psychological, such as feelings of doom and panic. One man, Ben Sumadiwiria, a Berlin-based vlogger, made the mistake of trying these noodles. His experience can be summed up in one statement: "This is the worst feeling you'll ever have in your life."
The vlogger attempted to stick his head under cold water as well as using milkshakes to remedy the effects of the chili, which didn't seem to help much. Sumadiwiria also claimed that he lost his hearing temporarily for two minutes, which is an unusual, yet scary, side effect.