Before we move on to Vietnam, I just want to point out one thing: in the 15+ months that I have lived in Kunming, I have increased my tolerance for spicey food by about a million times. This is because Yunnan takes a lot of cues in its cuisine from its northern neighbor Sichuan, but with a lot less subtlety. Basically, every meal I eat is spicy. I am, as the Chinese say, totally 厉害 (lihai, “way awesome”).
That said, the other night I ordered some take out food – a chicken dish that I knew would be a little spicy. What is pictured below is what I had to remove from the dish BEFORE I could put it into my mouth. This one goes out to you, NR. Dad, you may want to avert your eyes.