"Eat the dried chiles," advised our server, "but leave the fresh red and green ones alone because they're really hot." Problem is, I tend to roll my eyes and shrug when it comes to heat advisories, which is exactly what I did in this case. And that turned out to be one of the most ridiculously stupid mistakes I've ever made, because birdseye chiles, despite their relatively small size, are the devil in disguise. The snip that I chewed off the tip of the smallest one I could find nearly killed me.
The above snap is the aftermath of a plate that had initially been heaped with a jungle of shrimp slicked with hot oil and pelted with chile seeds -- shrimp that made it safely down my throat without incident. The actual chiles? Not so much.
"There was one guy, an American, that ate eight of those chiles," insisted our server. I want to meet that man. And marry him. In the meantime, can you guess where I'm eating?