If you happen to take a visit into the depths of La Paz in Bolivia, you should get a taste of home with the Star of India. Or so we thought. It was almost obligatory to give the world’s highest curry house a visit; the Englishman’s Mecca, especially when there have been sparse home comforts along the way. Not only, is it record-breaking in altitude, but also with the challenge of “The World’s Most Dangerous Vindaloo,” awaiting those who dare to take it on.
In the nervous moments before I knew I had to eat it quickly and I also knew it would have its consequences. I did not dot he challenge alone, as one other friend chose risk stomach ulcers and a bout of ring sting for the free t-shirt, all for the very reasonable price of 40 Bolivianos (yes that is the name of the currency), about the equivalent of 4 pounds.
Starting is not the problem as you can do it at pace numbing your mouth and your senses. As the meal wears on it is the matter of losing the will to finish, and in time, losing the will to live. Ten mouthfuls from the end, not only was I crying from pain, but threatening to refill the plate as I gagged, just managing to hold it back. Childishly playing with my food I manned up while the two of my friends who weren’t ‘competing’ left for a cigarette leaving us to regret our decision to undertake anything so foolhardy as we were enslaved by this horrible vindaloo.
Of course with agony, and a little help from my banana milkshake I surpassed all expectations and swallowed down the last mouthful. The people on the next table with a look of amazement and disgust, I even heard one of them say “I think I might order one of those..” to which I laughed and tried to get my t-shirt before I covered the room in vindaloo.
We headed back to the hostel, and as my stomach churned I thought ‘maybe next time I’ll have the Chicken Tikka Masala.’