Peppers (not variety) are the spice of life

We were warned well in advance.

“Chinese food is spicy.  Especially in the Hunan province.”

Ok, we thought.  Thanks for the heads up.  But how spicy can it really be?  We frequent Chinese restaurants in the US.  The food certainly isn’t authentic Chinese, but it isn’t terribly spicy either.  We rather enjoy it.

Well let me tell you something.  Chinese food in the Hunan province is exceptionally spicy.  They use hot peppers liberally in nearly every dish.  Say farewell to your relationship with your taste buds.  After one meal, they will be obliterated.  Never to be seen again.

On the plus side on this phenomenon, you will find that you enjoy foods you previously disliked.  Either because the spiciness really does bring out a flavor that you enjoy, or you can’t really taste anything to dislike anymore given your new lack of taste buds.

Don’t get me wrong.  The food here in Yueyang, Hunan, China is delicious.  OK, most of the food is delicious.  I couldn’t bring myself to try to eel or the tortoise.  It was just too much.  My already overwhelmed senses couldn’t handle the overload that trying those foods would have required.  But the everyday cuisine, minus the aquatic life, is excellent.  I love mi fen (rice noodles) and the various pork dishes with fresh vegetables and hot peppers.  But it is certainly spicy!  I will never be able to eat bland food again after becoming accustomed to the spiciness!

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