By Chloe Sweet
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Videographer / director: Peter Jones, Max Thurlow
Producer: Dom Smith, Chloe Sweet, James Thorne
Editor: James Thorne, Thom Johnson
YouTube presenter and food fanatic Lew ‘Big Lew’ Richards took on dishes originating from China, the US, Vietnam and India, rounding up his chili-filled day by attempting to finish the World’s Hottest Curry.
Lew started his day in Shoreditch at the Vietnamese restaurant Viet Grill – a spot he would visit weekly during his twenties. There, he was served a spicy beef Pho soup, which is traditionally eaten for breakfast in Vietnam.
Viet Grill owner Hieu Bui says the dish prepared at his restaurant was authentic to Vietnamese cuisine and contained over 50 ingredients – including bone marrow, knuckles, whole dried chilies and lemongrass.
Lew found that the heat level was “perfect” and not too far outside of his comfort zone.
However, he said after eating the dried chili, things were a little bit “pokey”.
He then went around the corner to Red Dog Saloon on Hoxton Square, where owner Tom Brooke waited on his arrival with a super-hot “Doomsday Burger”.
The tear-inducing burger was spiced up with a blend of jalapenos, serranoes, Thai birds eye chilies, habaneros, ghost chilies and chili extract.
Despite managing to finish the entire dish, the self-proclaimed burger connoisseur Lew left the restaurant feeling like a “nuclear device” and confessed that the Doomsday Burger had successfully lived up to its title.
With only two restaurants down and three to go, Lew said: “I feel like the body clock could be a ticking time bomb right now, that burger was a lot. It was a lot more than I expected it to be.
“I thought Tom wouldn’t do me dirty like that, but he most definitely did me dirty.”
However Big Lew had bigger troubles to come when he visited Orange Buffalo on Brick Lane, to take on their signature “Viper Wings”.
The chicken wings, which are known across London for their spiciness, requires a disclaimer to be signed before eating - meaning that the person who dares to try them must take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.
Mike So, the co-owner of Orange Buffalo, claims that in the six years he’s been serving them, he has never seen a single person eat the entire portion.
But, he also says he has seen many unable to handle the heat and instead have either vomited, fainted or urinated on themselves.
The wings are covered in a sauce made of Scotch bonnets, naga chilies, as well as adding a touch of chili extract – an ingredient which is supposedly measured to be over 4.6 million Scoville units.
The Scoville scale measures the ‘spiciness’ of chilies and other hot foods by looking at the concentration of the chemical compound capsaicin, which produces the heat sensation when we eat it.
Lew managed to eat just two of Orange Buffalo’s Viper Wings, stating: “It was one of the single worst experiences of my life.
“I am just very, very glad that whole ordeal was over. That was awful, brutal.”
His next stop was at KAKI, a Sichuan restaurant situated on Caledonian Road. There, he was challenged to try their sea bass and frog legs in sizzling chili oil, which many say is one of the hottest Sichuan dishes on offer in London.
But Lew found that the spiciness of this particular dish fell short.
He said: “Flavour wise, stand out dish of the day. Spice wise, not even on the level of what we have been on today but I don’t want to take away from the fact that these were some serious culinary delights taking place down at Caledonian Road.”
For his final challenge of the day, Lew headed to Cinnamon Bazaar in Covent Garden to try the notorious “Bombay Burner”, which claims to be the World’s Hottest Curry.
The curry is made up of 12 Scotch bonnet chilies stuffed with lamb mince, along with habanero chilies, jalapeno, bird’s eye, Thai green, and Dorset nagas.
Similarly to Orange Buffalo, Lew had to sign a disclaimer before he took his first bite.
Despite its daunting title, Lew devoured the ‘World’s Hottest Curry’ in record time.
Whether his success can be credited to seared taste buds from previous dishes of the day, or whether the Bombay Burner was simply overhyped is a question yet to be answered.
On completing his chili challenge, he said: “I feel like I have conquered the world. I am feeling powerful and charged up off the chili concoction that is running through my veins.
“My plans for the next few days consists of a tub of Aloe Vera, a whole load of Andrex, locking the doors and fixing my life.”