We’re Having a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight

My husband loves hot and spicy foods. He adds jalapeno’s to my homemade soup. He puts hot sauce on just about everything I make. Not because it doesn’t take good but because it would taste better if it was on fire (I jest, he just loves spice in his foods).

No matter where we have traveled in the world Mike was always on the lookout for hot sauce we could buy and keep in our refrigerator. Sometimes he found hot sauce and mostly he didn’t.

In countries where one would expect to find good homemade hot sauce, like Spain, Panama or even Mexico, hot sauce just wasn’t as readily available. While living in Mexico Mike searched for weeks until he stumbled upon a small local and independent restaurant not too far from where we were staying that made hot sauce. It was so good Mike went back week after week and the owner was incredibly pleased. Finding good hot sauce during our three years of living abroad was the exception however, not the norm.

What I didn’t know was that in all our travels Mike secretly harbored a desire to do one of those eating challenges where hot sauce took center stage. They don’t really do eating challenges outside of the US so he never had the opportunity to test his endurance, until recently.

Just down the street from where we are now living in Lacey, WA is a sushi restaurant named Koibito’s and they host a 5 Star Sushi Challenge. This challenge consists of the challenger eating eight pieces of sushi covered with a five pepper and spice hot sauce. The sauce is marinated with cabbage and tofu. The sushi roll was made with hot and spicy tuna.

The challenger has to eat all eight pieces of the sushi roll and all of the hot sauce in 30 minutes or less. I will personally attest to the fact that when his plate arrived at the table I could smell the hot sauce from across the room and it lingered for a time. There was no way I was going anywhere near his plate.

The 5 Star Sushi Challenge at Koibito's.   © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The 5 Star Sushi Challenge at Koibito’s. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Mike started off strong and ate the first three pieces in under a minute and a half. At piece number six however Mike took a deep breath, sort of coughed and then I thought he was going to lose his lunch. He said the cough made the hot sauce permeate completely up and into his sinuses and that’s when his eyes began to water and he began to sweat. And yet he kept on chewing, slower, but he kept on.

The clock was ticking and Mike reported that his mouth was completely on fire. He put piece seven in. Chew, chew, swallow…

Piece eight loomed large. There was a lot of hot sauce and cabbage / tofu mix that had to be consumed with it and so with chopstick and fork in hand Mike got piece eight ready.

At this point you are reading along and wondering what on earth was all this for, right? What possible prize would be worth all this agony?

Mike is the proud owner of an awesome new T-shirt!

Mike with his new shirt.  It is a nice one and wearing it now gets him 10% off all future dining.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Mike with his new shirt. It is a nice one and wearing it now gets him 10% off all future dining. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Mike’s quest to beat an eating challenge has now been quenched and when I asked him if he would ever attempt anything like this in the future he said, “probably not.”

As for me, I am proud of my little fire eater. If by some chance you ever make it inside Koibito’s make sure to look for Mike’s picture on the wall of champions.

His photo will now appear on the Wall of Champions.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

His photo will now appear on the Wall of Champions. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

I have made a video of Mike’s success which you can watch here. It took him 5 minutes and 20 seconds to finish the challenge.


Florence Lince






    1. Hi Ted,

      Mike eats sriracha on Asian food and cholulu on Mexican. He likes homemade salsa best however (his words, not mine).

      Thanks for the link. Happy to see they didn’t close this business down.

      My husband was born in Seattle. We are however thinking that living with deeper roots we might be better off in Yakama, but who knows. I feel the travel bug pulling me again. Time will tell.

      Thanks for connecting.



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