Thai chili recipe lead to road closures in central London

An acrid smell emanating in the famed Soho district in London brought out a chemical response team from the London Fire Brigade last week. Passers-by were reporting a burning throat sensation as a result of the smell.

Steve Bird of The Times of London reported:

“As the ambulance service sent in its Hazardous Area Response Team Unit, firefighters wearing specialist breathing apparatus entered the deserted streets to seek out the source.
Soon after 7pm on Monday they emerged from the smoke carrying a huge cooking pot containing about 9lb of smouldering dried chillies.”

Turns out the chilies are used in the preparation of nam prik pao, “a super-hot Thai dip to accompany prawn crackers.”

The Thai Cottage restaurant’s chef, Chalemchai Tangjariyapoon, explained:

“I was making a spicy dip with extra-hot chillies that are deliberately burnt. To us it smells like burnt chilli and it is slightly unusual. I can understand why people who weren’t Thai would not know what it was. But it doesn’t smell like chemicals. I’m a bit confused.”

The owner then further explained that due to the rainy weather, the smoke hadn’t dissipated as usual.

I wonder if Chef Heston Blumenthal was in the area?…

(Image courtesy of Daniel Risacher/Wikipedia)

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