Spicy Foods: Where do I go now?

So, I have never liked foods that are spicy hot. I spent years in the mild only sauces range and always asking ‘how hot is that?’ before ordering dishes.
I read, however, that spicy foods will help with high blood pressure so I’ve been making an effort to try to build up my tolerance if not enjoyment of such spicy fare.

Now, my motto was, I don’t understand eating food that is designed to deliberately cause you pain which I kinda realized later isn’t completely true as I love the pain and taste I get from horseradish for example it’s just the peppery heat that made me uncomfortable.

Anyway, I have been working on it but not diligently and I’ve seen some progress. I can eat any of the hot sauces from Taco Bell for example though I understand that they’re considered extremely mild. I just ordered Sweet fire chicken from Panda Express ( again mild ) and not only could tolerate it but I enjoyed it with the heat flavor rather than tolerating it.

I don’t know where to go now though. I want to try the next level of heat not jump into the deep end. I went to a store and saw the 10k hot sauce varieties and was surprised you really couldn’t tell the heat from the bottle though I know that these sauces are ranked by scoville units but I didn’t see these marked clearly.

So heat fans, what do you suggest I try which is the next step above fast food level heat that I can work on that won’t make me decide a heart attack is a less painful alternative?

You could try making some things on your own, and substitute less volatile peppers for the hotter ones, or just use fewer hot peppers. Jalapeno is rated at about 10k on the Scoville scale, while Poblano peppers are only 2k. The Poblanos are bigger, so take that into account. There are plenty of curry & chili recipes out there.

If you’re looking for spicy foods that aren’t hot, you can also try Moroccan cuisine, which will include more spices like cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, paprika, coriander, saffron, mace, cloves, fennel, anise, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, caraway, black pepper and sesame seeds. Only a few of those are hot.

Well, you could try dishes where you add the heat. Get some crushed red pepper and sprinkle it on your pizza until you get your fill. Have tacos, buy a variety of taco sauces (there’s a giant world of both outside of Taco Bell), and see how much of it you like in there.

I also like to dress up soups and other dishes with crushed red pepper. Chicken noodle soup and mac 'n cheese are kind of blah without them now.

The only spice that really does anything to reduce high blood pressure is Turmeric, because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

I don’t know if hot things really have an impact on blood pressure. However, I also don’t like pepper-based heat very much but I really like wasabi. Some users of wasabi say it helps “maintain healthy blood pressure” whatever that means. Anyhow, as suggested above there are a lot of ways to raise the heat level without using jalapenos or other hot peppers.

Head to a Buffalo Wild Wings. They have a bunch of graduated hot sauces for wings. I’d start with Medium.

I like to get the chipotle flavor of TOBASCO brand sauce. It’s a very nice medium-low heat level, less vinegary than standard TOBASCO and has a nice, smokey profile that blends well with many food. Try it on eggs, you’ll thank me.

Cooking for me isn’t in the cards due to lack of ability sand more importantly no access to a kitchen where I can experiment with.

I googled whether spicy food aided in blood pressure and found this study which explains their rationale.


Placebo? Maybe but it does seem to have helped me.

I do want to try Moroccan food. Time to make it happen. Thanks.

Yep, that was the plan in part but when I went to buy the “next level heat” of sauces outside of Taco Bell I had no idea which one was the one to start with which is why I asked here.

Your last sentence is definitely where I’d like to get. I’ll never be the person who will take hot sauce challenges but I want to be able to tolerate more than I currently can.

I really don’t recognize Turmeric but googling it does make it sound like something I want to try. I googled what dishes have it ( I am a newbie with culinary terms ) and I haven’t tried any of them but they sound tasty and definitely on my list to try asap.

Our food tastes are pretty similar in this area. I do like these alternative heat sources but I wasn’t sure if there was something about capsaicin that tout their benefits.

For example:

This may or may not actually be true but it doesn’t hurt ( well … ) to try it.

There aren’t any of those close enough to me but there are other wing places I could try but it seems like a shot in the dark with such labels as Medium. If I’m going out to a place like this I’d hate to spend for something that I may find inedible.

That I can do. Thanks.

I like the green jalapeno flavor Tabasco, myself. It’s not quite as spicy as the original and has a great flavor that goes good on eggs or steak or in a taco.

The OP might also try some curry. A lot of the Indian restaurants in this area at least give you an option of how hot you want your meal on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being mild and 5 being just hot enough to make you sweat.

I find that the kind of heat/spice makes a difference in my enjoyment and tolerance of levels of spice. Mentally, I file them into three broad categories:
[li]Sinus-clearing. Think horseradish, mustard, and wasabi,[/li][li]“Bright” - fresh chiles like jalapeños and serranos. I’m likely to perceive these as more painful on the tongue, and “fruitier” and sharper in flavor.[/li][li]“Dark” like some Mexican moles and some Indian curries. These build more slowly to the burn, and I perceive them more as a whole-mouth sensation. These are the ones that make me sweat, but are rich in flavor. Think toasted or roasted spices and chiles like chipotles, chili powders, smoked paprika and the like.[/li][/ol]
Speaking only for myself, I don’t like the first category at all, the second category is dependent on the dish and my mood, and the third category is my favorite. So, first, I think it helps to decide what kind of spicy you like before going stronger and stronger.

Sauce on the side. And if you explain to the server or bartender what you’re trying to do and it isn’t too busy, I wouldn’t be surprised if they honor a request to put a dab of a few sauces on a plate that you can try before placing your order.

BW3s is good because they have a lot of sauces and the menu lays them out in such a way that you sort of know how hot it will be. Mild green to angry red.

Thai cuisine is a good introduction to spicy foods. Some places use a 1-10 spicy-rating.

Yes, any wing place I’ve tried, they’ve been more than happy to put sauce on the side. For example, my wife likes mild to medium, but I love the ultra-fiery sauces, so I’ll order wings mild, and then ask for whatever hot sauce I want on the side. I’ve not tried it at BW3, but literally every other place I’ve gone to has had no problem with the request.

Unfortunately, despite my nearly life-long love of ultra-spicy foods, it’s not had any effect on my high blood pressure.

A couple more thoughts to share if the OP still wants ideas.

Look for a buffet style Asian restaurant. The food will probably be mediocre and even the “spicy” dishes will probably be fairly moderate but it’s a good way to sample a variety of flavors.

Look around for sweet, pickled hot peppers. These are usually jalapenos, sometimes habaneros, picked in the same type of brine used for sweet or bread-&-butter pickles. I really like this combo of sweet and spicy and these peppers are wonderful as part of a mixed plate of cheese, crackers and veggies or mixed into hummus.

Well, the first category and the latter two are completely different chemicals. Horseradish, mustard, and wasabi have sinigrin and allyl isothiocyanate, and chili peppers have capsaicin. It’s weird to me, as I grew up eating a lot of horseradish (being the son of Polish immigrants), but I never thought of it as “spicy” (even though it’s a fair description of it) because to me “spicy” was always chili pepper spice. And horseradish/mustard spice doesn’t really linger in the way chili pepper spice does. Yeah, it’ll clear your sinuses if you swallow it wrong, but it doesn’t leave a painful burn for many minutes the way a scorpion pepper would.

And there’s also peppercorn spice, which is still yet another chemical, piperine. That’s a third category of “spicy” for me.

Gingerols, compounds found in ginger, are yet another kind. They’re a slow mouth-heat that fades a little faster than capsaicin and has less of the sinus-clearing aromatics than horseradish. Their heat and flavor profile changes depending on treatment, too–cooking ginger can break gingerols down into a sweeter, less hot chemical (the zingerone one tastes in gingerbread), while drying it forms shogaol, which is hotter.