I like spicy food. In fact, sometimes if soups or other asian foods are not spicy enough, I order “fresh chopped chili”. My friend Anoop introduced me to chopped chili and a little soy sauce years ago, and I’ve never looked back.
In Beijing, restaurant staff I came across often couldn’t believe that I was ordering làjiāo. In fact, despite practicing my pronunciation, showing a hand-drawn picture of a chili and even pointing to the word in my dictionary, I was generally met with looks of confusion.
In one restaurant we went to, the chaos my chili-wanting created involved 4 or 5 staff questioning me (and each other) for several minutes, confident that what I said I wanted must have been wrong. As you’ll see below, even when the chili came, it was almost whisked away, so sure were staff that there was no way I was actually going to eat it.
I did put the chili in this video in my food, and it was very good.