Join us for the latest installment of our no-holds-barred reporter biting off more than he can chew (literally, in this case). 

P.K. Sanjun was quite confident in himself. As an ethnic Korean who was raised in Japan and had studied abroad in South Korea for two years, he boasts that he naturally underwent spicy food training from a young age with Korean staples such as kimchi. There isn’t a single spicy dish that he couldn’t eat–at least, that’s what he thought as he set out to try possibly the spiciest order of curry he could imagine. 

The scene of this day’s culinary challenge was a famous curry restaurant in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture called Shukriya. Opened in 1970 and still overwhelmingly popular with the locals, it also met P.K.’s three prerequisites for restaurant success–great taste, large servings, and reasonable prices. In addition, its staff offer a tempting proposal; namely, that the curry’s spiciness could be adjusted to whatever level the customer requested for free. This was the main reason for P.K.’s visit on this day.

P.K. was already aware that Shukriya uses cayenne pepper to adjust the level of spiciness in their curry. This wasn’t a problem because if anything, he feels he can consume red chili pepper more easily than wasabi or mustard greens. He was positively brimming with confidence as he marched into the restaurant to make his outlandish request.

“I’ll have a dish of curry that’s 1,300 times as spicy as usual.” 

1,300 isn’t an easy number to visualize. For some perspective, P.K. points out that if a man weighing 60 kilograms (132 pounds) increased his weight by 1,300 times, his resulting weight would be 78 tons. Since it was his first time eating at Shukriya, the worker tried to talk him out of his unusual, and rather reckless, request. But of course, those words fell on deaf ears and our reporter was undeterred. He solemnly vowed to finish every last bite of the spicy curry.

▼ Shukriya’s offer to adjust the spiciness however you want it: 0=regular taste, 1=a little bit spicy, 3=spicy, 5=extremely spicy, 10=unbelievably spicy

His food arrived after a five-minute wait. It was, to put it simply, red. Its texture also seemed to be more viscous than regular curry. After reaffirming his words “I will conquer this curry!”, P.K. lifted the spoon to his lips in high spirits.

▼ P.K.’s super-spicy curry (right) vs the five-times spicy version (left)

As he began to chew, he mentally called out “It’s so go–uuoooAAARRGHHHHHHHHHH!! GAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!”

Only one thought remained in his head: “I’m dying.”

It was hot, hotter, and the hottest; its spiciness seared his mouth with an indescribable fire. He was overly conscious of the location of each bite as it slid down his esophagus like a thousand stinging needles.

At this point, our Japanese reporter Yoshio, who had accompanied P.K. to document his challenge, was overcome by curiosity. He coated the tip of a spoon with the tiniest possible amount of the curry and raised it to his mouth. “HOOOOOOOT!! WAAAAAH!!!” he somehow managed to splutter out as the spiciness addled his brains.

Actually, P.K. had ordered some hamburger steak and a fried egg as part of his meal to soften the blow of the spicy curry. However, he was discouraged to realize that the side dishes did nothing to help with the spiciness and if anything prolonged his suffering–nor did Shukriya’s default portion of 500 grams (17.6 ounces) of fluffy white rice.

In the end, P.K. did finish every last bite, but not with the overly confident manner with which he started. He had to drink about eight cups of water to quench his throat between bites of the fiery sauce and took about one hour to finish. To be perfectly honest, the bite of a raw cayenne pepper he’d had in the past had been even spicier–but that was only a bite, and this was a full-blown dish of it.

▼ Visual proof of the conclusion of P.K.’s Herculean task. By the way, the five-times-spicier-than-usual curry that Yoshio ordered was absolutely delicious.

According to the shop worker, there had been a mysterious figure in the past who managed to down a dish of curry that was 5,000-6,000 times the regular spiciness level. While that might become P.K.’s eventual goal, for now he’ll be sticking with the regular menu recommendations.

In conclusion, despite finishing the dish, P.K. admitted his complete defeat, especially in light of the bathroom incident that transpired shortly thereafter…

▼ Coming soon to a bathroom near you: Post-curry P.K. vs. the Toilet

A note on the restaurant’s website states that “shukriya” means “thank you” in Urdu and Maldivian, but it might take P.K. a little while to muster up some gratitude for his recent experience…

Restaurant information
Shukriya / シュクリア
Address: Kanagawa-ken, Fujisawa-shi, 96 Yuko-dori, Radio Shonan-mae
神奈川県藤沢市藤沢96 遊行通りレディオ湘南前
Open: 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (lunch), 5 p.m.-9 p.m. (dinner)
Closed Mondays

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