I’ve always prided myself on having a decently high spice tolerance. No, I’ve never claimed to be the Sultan of Spice. I’m certainly not the Head Honcho of Heat. However, I’ve eaten a Scotch bonnet pepper whole. I lived in Thailand for a year (which I would argue just might be the spiciest cuisine in the world), and I’ve gotten adventurous with some high-Scoville hot sauces.
So, when I heard about the One Chip Challenge, naturally, I puffed out my chest and said, “How hot could a tortilla chip really be?” Apparently, it can be very hot. This was my experience with the One Chip Challenge:
Hello, Hotness, My Old Friend
When I first read about the One Chip Challenge on the internet, I instantly went to search online for a place to buy it. I was thinking, Well, of course, I have to try this. Maybe I’ll even post a video online of myself doing the Challenge just to show the world that this chip isn’t even that hot and that I’m a big, tough guy.
The first place I looked was on Walmart’s website. Unfortunately, for some reason, Walmart was charging like $30 for the One Chip Challenge. I considered making the purchase anyway but, in the end, I just couldn’t justify paying that much for a single chip. I closed out of my browser and put the One Chip Challenge out of my mind.
Fast forward months later, I’ve just rented a car and I’m driving out of Las Vegas into the desert, feeling like one feels on their way out of Vegas: hungover. On the outskirts of the city, I stopped at an Exxon to get some gas station coffee… and there it was!
The One Chip Challenge! Sitting on the shelf next to the counter was that devilish little yellow and black box beckoning to me, challenging me, sizing me up like a jungle cat. It felt like divine intervention that this chip should appear right in front of me like this.
“How much for this?” I asked the cashier, trying not to slur my words from excitement and residual drunkenness.
It was $8. Deal.
I hopped back in the car with the One Chip Challenge and considered eating it right there. Then I reconsidered and realized that the middle of the desert was probably not the best place to eat something sure to induce cottonmouth. Plus, I needed a witness.
I stowed the One Chip Challenge away in my bag and continued my drive, feeling the presence of the chip the entire way to Arizona. It was like a caged Rottweiler staring at a T-bone steak, waiting to tear its prey to bits (except the Rottweiler was a chip and the steak was the inside of my mouth).
It took me an entire week of mental preparation after buying the chip to actually shove it down my gullet and deal with the consequences.
Not really, I just went camping and forgot that I’d bought it. However, as I was shooting the shit at my buddy’s place in Phoenix, we remembered there was a nuclear tortilla chip radiating in the glovebox of my friend’s Jeep. Soon, I was tearing open the coffin-shaped box, still talking smack about how there’s no way this chip could really be that hot. I was wrong.
There Isn’t Enough Milk in the World
First things first, it was time to read the box and see what this thing was all about. The first thing I noticed is that it was made with a Carolina Reaper and scorpion pepper. I’d heard of Carolina reapers before (as anyone who knows anything about spicy stuff has) and knew that it was incredibly hot, like one of the hottest peppers on Earth. I’d never heard of scorpion peppers before, but they sure didn’t sound like a walk in the park.
My heart began to race a little bit.
Outside, the box was also covered in cautionary words like, “This chip will destroy you.” In my hubris, I simply scoffed at such warnings.
Inside, there was a little section that told you what to expect:
- Round 1: Spicy Punch
- Round 2: Scorpion Sting
- Round 3: Vision Disruptor
- Round 4: Gut Slash
- Round 5: Roasted!
Honestly, none of those rounds sounded too bad other than Gut Slash. I mean, I don’t want to get stung by a scorpion, but I assumed that was just some overly macho hyperbole. Reading the words “Gut Slash,” though, gave me the impression that this chip might actually give me an ulcer and send me to the hospital.
Enough reading. Enough thinking. It’s time to do what we came here to do. I tore open the triangular bag, held the chip in my hand, and shoved it all in my mouth in one bite.
As I crunched down on the black chip, its potency was immediately apparent. No, my mouth was not burning instantly. It was more like the feeling you get before a hurricane sweeps over the sky, that energy in the atmosphere that forewarns trouble.
Like a storm, it started with a drizzle. My mouth began to tingle as the capsaicin started seeping into my tongue. Then, boom! Like a crack of thunder, the spice kicked in and I was sweating. My tongue was swelling. I could feel tears welling up in the bottom of my eyes. This chip was no joke. I was a fool to underestimate it.