Carolina Reaper - ©

Sunday Musings: Would You Take This Stupid Challenge?

I thought I’d heard it all. But now there’s a new social media ‘challenge’ that could actually kill someone. And people are actually trying it! It’s all about a new Corn Chip product of questionable veracity infused with ‘the hottest chili in the world’…

Hot Chip Challenge - © 2023 Hot Chip EUOne chip at a time: The shape of the box it comes in should tell you something…

Who are these guys, anyway?

According to their ‘About Us’ webpage: “The HOT-CHIP Company was founded in the Czech Republic in 2019. We entered the market with the unique HOT-CHIP Challenge product. HOT-CHIP Challenge is […] tortilla chips from the hottest peppers in the world. Thanks to this Challenge, the company managed to expand to […] Slovakia, Germany, Austria, France and Denmark.

“Our products include spices, peppers, jams, syrups, sauces, high-protein chips and much more.”

“Ideal as a unique gift!”, “Challenge your buddies!”, “Take it to parties!”, “Make your partner happy!” the website suggests. Although I must say I’m confused about how a super hot corn chip can make one’s partner ‘happy’…

The Challenge

You get one fiery chili chip in a coffin-shaped box for 9,90 Euro / (US)$10.60. That’s right. Just one. And the challenge is to actually eat the thing.

You can also get 3- and 5-packs. But after seeing one poor soul try the challenge, who would want to follow up?

They post videos at their Challenge webpage of folks who’ve dared to try it. I’ve never in my life seen a sorrier looking bunch sweaty, red-faced, choking and wheezing ‘heat’ fans.

How it works

  1. The crazy Czechs want you to eat the chip, making a short video or ‘at least taking a picture’ of the event.
  2. Share it on Facebook, Tik Tok or Instagram with the hashtag #HOTCHIPCHALLENGE.
  3. “Challenge one or two friends who should get to know the […] Hot Chip challenge!”
  4. Participation in the challenge automatically enters you in a draw to win an iPhone.

From the FAQs

How much [heat] does it have?

“The value of Carolina Reaper’s SHU [Scoville Heat Units rating] is between 1.8-2.2 million. Carolina Reaper [see photo, top of page] is officially the hottest chili in the world. HOT-CHIP contains a high percentage of this chili pepper.”

The Reaper is a hybrid developed by American breeder Ed Currie. It clocks in at a hefty 2.2 million SHU. By comparison, your basic Habañero registers ‘just’ 500,000 SHU. And the ubiquitous Jalapeño manages a meager 5,000 to 6,000 SHU.

Can it harm my health?

“Those people who dare to eat a chip may experience extreme burning in the mouth, blurred vision or breathing difficulties for a short period of time, similar to what happens when taking other hot chilies. The product is not suitable for children, pregnant and lactating women. Avoid consumption if you are allergic to capsaicin or have health problems in general.”

So… There are lots of reasons to avoid the Challenge!

How long does it burn?

“After eating a chip, a really wild ride begins, which from your point of view will not end. But you can be reassured by the fact that the most intense and stinging burning will last 5-10 minutes.”

The makers suggest you have white bread and cold milk on hand, for first aid use.

My take

First… Who in their right mind would pay $10 to put themselves through Hell? Lots of folks, apparently. The Challenge is front and centre on the Hot Chips Co. website.

No less an authority than the University of Chicago Medical School (UCM) warns that, while spicy foods have their undisputed benefits, they can also be dangerous. An online article by Dr. Ed McDonald IV sums up pros and cons thus:

  • Spicy foods are healthy.
  • Spicy foods don’t cause ulcers, but be careful if you have irritable bowel syndrome, dyspepsia, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Basically, if spicy foods give you stomach pain, think before you eat.
  • Spicy foods don’t cause hemorrhoids, but you may feel the burn if you have anal fissures.
  • Don’t get spicy foods in your eyes.
  • Use gloves if handling super hot peppers.
  • Regarding ridiculously spicy foods with warning labels, eat them at your own risk. Fellas, that ghost pepper sauce almost burned off my chest hairs from the inside — Respect it.

And don’t forget that participants in previous hot pepper challenges have ended up in hospital with mouth and throat burns. Or worse.

The question is, would you risk the Hot Chip Challenge?

Muse on that…

~ Maggie J.