We all know someone like Logan Doan of Jacksonville, Fla. Every group of friends has that one who likes his or her food spicier than everyone else.
Doan’s preferred spice level isn’t listed on most restaurant menus, so during his first trip to a local Asian food spot, he made sure, as he often does, to relay to the server just how spicy he wanted his Pad Thai.
“As a white guy, I always ask for ‘Thai hot,’ but I feel like the server doesn’t take this seriously, and they have the kitchen tone down the heat in fear that it will be too hot and I’ll send it back,” Doan told McClatchy. “I’ll often ask for them to tell the chef it’s not for a white guy, but I don’t think they do this.”
When he got his to-go carton from Hawkers Asian Street Fare last week, the kitchen workers had scribbled “cuidado,” a warning in Spanish to “watch out,” and had drawn pictures of flames on it. His receipt had 17 “spicy” notes printed in red and a note at the bottom that read, “make him regret being born.”
He posted a photo of the receipt on Reddit, and it had accumulated nearly 124,000 points as of Monday morning and generated more than 3,000 comments in its discussion thread.
When he opened it, the Pad Thai was covered in pepper flakes, a promising sign for the spice-loving Doan. His office mates gathered as he ate, anticipating an unfortunate, yet hysterical, office mishap.
But alas, it ended up as just another episode of the lunchtime frustration experienced by so many spice-heads throughout this country. Restaurants, even those that work in the spiciest of genres, have to think about liability as much or more than they do the occasional outliers like Doan.
“Some folks in my office thought I was crazy for eating it, but I didn’t really get a rush from it. I definitely didn’t regret [being born],” Doan said. “I often push myself to the limit, and this dish wasn’t as spicy as some of the stuff I’m typically used to.”
Doan said his preference for insanely spicy food does have one advantage.
“It definitely helps with keeping people from eating your leftovers,” he said.