If you thought last week’s Hunan chili-eating contest was hot, be prepared: that was just a warmup. Today’s China food update is a brutal mashup of science and masochism: farmers in southwestern Yunnan province now claim to have created the world’s hottest pepper (link in Chinese). Like, can’t touch it without gloves because the oil from the pepper will burn your skin and cause 4-6 hours of severe discomfort hot. “Not edible by humans or animals” heat levels here.
GoKunming reports from Yunnan’s capital:
“Yunnan Honglü Capsaicin (云南宏绿辣素有限公司) operates experimental chili farms in Xundian County (寻甸县), about 90 minutes by car northeast of Kunming. When harvest season rolls around, workers picking the company’s bright red hybrid peppers must wear protective clothing, especially over their hands and faces… Physically, this new breed of pepper looks no different from typical versions grown in Yunnan that resemble scotch bonnets or habeñeros. But that lack of apparent difference is quickly dispelled if anyone is foolish enough to try and eat one. The current hottest pepper in the world — measured using the Capsaicin-based Scoville Scale — is the Indian ghost pepper. Honglü researchers believe their chili is “two or three times” more caustic. In fact, the devilishly spicy monster so far has a simple and to-the-point name — ‘industrial pepper’ (工业辣椒).
Experimental chili farms! Industrial pepper! Too real. Evidently this pepper is being grown for use in pesticides but I feel like it’ll go over great at your next post-human dinner party. Enjoy!