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Aug 21, 2010 12:16 PM

Can Spicy food be addicting?

Recently, I found a new local Mexican restaurant that is pretty authentic from what I can gather. (never had real Mexican but the place is filled with locals who are mexican)

I am enjoying trying all the new and unknown items, this sure isn't Chevy's! First and foremost is the spiciness! I've had good spicy in Thai, Cajun, Indian and a few other cuisines and thought I was pretty good on it. But this food such kicks it up a few level. My first taste usually seems to cause a beaded sweat and almost a panic saying "I'll die if I eat this ." Then a second taste and more, Yum, the various dishes are very complex in the chili sauces. I am now having lunch there 2-3 times a week, to try more items and learn the cuisine and also because I now seem to crave, yes, actually crave that heat.

Anyone else find this so? Is it the flavor or the rush of the spicy?

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  1. I think just about any flavor profile (sweet, salty, spicy heat, etc.) can be addicting.

    It's (shudder) human nature.

    1. Consuming capsaicin leads to the release of endorphins. e.g.

      3 Replies
      1. re: MGZ

        I was wondering about that! And it seems some great side benefits, health -wise as well.

        MGZ if ya wanna venture south and have lunch at that place, let me know. Be fun ti get a CH gather.

        1. re: Quine

          Just be careful with that stuff. Luckily, there's a 12 step meeting for chilihaulics. Last week, I finally admitted my powerlessness and how I knew I was "at bottom" when I started eating watermelon chunks with embedded jalepeno slices and making breakfast out of dried fruit splashed with Mo' Betta's Fire Roasted Habanero Sauce.

          1. re: MGZ

            *laughing* I will keep that in mind. *knowing that I have take out for dinner of the Hottest dish I tasted from that place ready*

            maybe this is one of those "it's the journey not the destination" type of things?

      2. In my experience, super hot (and that's not the same thing as spicy) food enlivens the taste buds, makes them more sensitive, and thus more alive to various flavors. Put another way, food just tastes better after having eaten something extremely hot. Now scientifically speaking, this may not be the same thing as an addiction, but it certainly makes one want to eat more of the stuff.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Perilagu Khan

          But there is the case of super tasters- vs. non super tasters. Some recoil from flavor & spice or heat overload.

            1. re: Phurstluv

              Capsaicin stimulates the heat receptors and has little or no effect on the tastebuds. Supertasters are more affected by strong flavors, especially bitterness that many others either don't notice or actually enjoy.

          1. All I can say is that it was a long path for me to even like spicy food. Now I love it to the point where, when eating particular cuisines that are known for their spice level (or even if they just fit the flavor profile for me, i.e. "Asian" -- and yes, I know that's a pretty broad stroke here), it HAS to be spicy. Sichuan, Thai, Mexican... if it's not hot, I am missing something. Fiercely.

            Not the unhealthiest addiction in my life, I might add, if painful at times '-)

            1. Surely you jest! Three bites into my first hot Indian chicken curry many years ago, and I've never looked back since. Come hither, ye jalapeno temptresses! :)