“If you eat that I’ll have to call an ambulance,” says Nick, my guide in Trinidad, as we stare at some unshapely red peppers at a Chaguanas Farmers’ Market.
Around me are vegetables and island fruit from sour sop to green mangoes, but we are discussing what the locals call "Scorpion Pepper" –the hottest in the world.
The Trinidad Scorpion (Moruga) pepper ranks as high as 2 million on the Scoville scale, which officially makes it the hottest pepper in the world to date.
I was expressly forbidden from biting into it, because locals who have done so have suffered extreme pain, with their taste buds being numb or their face turning bright red.
Despite all the brouhaha about it, the locals still cook with the scorpion pepper. I was thankfully unable to find any hot sauce on the shelf that was made from the Moruga, but I’m sure somewhere there is one. Those who have dared to eat it (and lived to tell the tale) describe it as not being terribly spicy upon first bite, but the fact that it builds and builds when you keep eating it. Some have said that it is juicy.
Scorpion peppers are a dime a dozen in Trinidad, and you can certainly find them at the large Chaguanas Farmers’ Market south of Port of Spain.