Yesterday one of my best local friends and I met up for lunch at one of my favorite local Asian restaurants. It was the 2nd day in a row I ate there but that’s OK, I could eat it every day and not tire of it. This ain’t some cheap, disgusting Chinese buffet. This is a full sit-down restaurant where everything is made fresh to order. Needless to say I’m a bit spoiled. Having one of the top 100 Chinese restaurants in the US right here in podunk Abilene, Texas? Who’d have thought? Whatever the case, if you ever spend some time in Abilene Szechuan is a definite must-try if you’re into Asian food.
Anyway, one of the things I absolutely love about this place is they will bring as much heat as you ask for. I always order mine at the maximum spice level, add whole red chilis and jalapeno peppers and order extra chili oil to go with it. Sound crazy? Maybe I am. After all, anytime I ate at Goodfriend when I lived in Dallas I always ordered their so-called “El Salazar” burger which consisted of a roasted pepper sauce of ghost pepper, Thai peppers and a few others and I always powered through it as though it were nothing. Would I feel the burn, sweat bullets, etc.? Oh yeah, but I absolutely loved it.
I actually have to be very mindful to answer in a correct way when someone asks me if something is hot, because often times what has little or no detectable heat to my palate will knock someone else on their ass (in more ways than one, if you catch my drift). I always have to answer “it’s not hot to me but it might be to you.” If I tell you something is hot to me, watch out. That’s a clear warning and I don’t joke around about stuff like this. It’s not funny and someone could get very sick or injured as not many people have as tough of a stomach as I seem to.
Alas, I digress. As I was eating my lunch yesterday and starting to heat up a bit I couldn’t help but wonder if I’m a rarity when it comes to my heat/spice tolerance and being on the autism spectrum. It would stand to reason (at least to me) that not many autists could handle as much spice as I can. Given our hypersensitivities, I could see where most of us would be hypersensitive to capsaicin. Alas, for whatever reason I’m not.
The only reason I can figure for my heat/spice tolerance is genetics – I do have some Japanese background after all. I remember my great-grandmother used to grow those little ornamental peppers in her garden and she would often just pick one off the plant and eat it like candy. Yes, she could handle her heat like nobody’s business.
All that said, I’m truly curious. Maybe it’s one of the weirdest things to be curious about but I truly am. Fellow autists, what is your heat/spice tolerance like? Is it a hypersensitivity for you or are you like me and can wolf it down like nobody’s business? Even if you’re not on the spectrum, I’m curious as to how much heat you can take. I know not many people in the western world have my tolerance but some do.