Lotteria, the craziest fast food chain in Japan, ups the insanity with its new ghost pepper sauce sandwich.
For a while, it seemed like whatever psychotherapy Lotteria’s chefs were undergoing was working. It’d been months since Japan’s craziest fast food chain had released a hamburger with super-stretchy cheese, purple sauce, or ten patties and an anime tie-in.
But apparently Lotteria’s chefs have busted out of the asylum, and they’ve created something that’s, by the standards of the company itself, litigiously insane. On June 8, Lotteria began selling what it calls the Death Spicy Tandoori Chicken Sandwich, and if you want it as spicy as possible, you’re required to sign a liability waiver before they’ll serve you.
Lotteria has actually added three spicy sandwiches simultaneously to its menu. There’s the standard Karakuchi (“Spicy”) Tandoori Chicken Sandwich, and above that in the pantheon there’s the Umakara (“Deliciously Spicy”) Tandoori Chicken Sandwich and the Gekikara (Shockinlgy Spicy) Tandoori Chicken Sandwich.
▼ Gekikara shown on the red field, and Umakara on the white
There’s no legal document involved in buying the sandwiches in their standard forms, but if you want Lotteria to add hot sauce made with Bhut jolokia, one of the spiciest peppers in the world, you’ll have so sign a release form and present it when placing your order. The waiver warns that “Consuming this sauce can trigger watering of the eyes, expulsion of mucus from the nose, extreme pain in the throat and mouth cavity, heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, and other severe symptoms that may continue for an extended period of time.”
We signed the form (which is available online here), then slapped it down on the counter of our local Lotteria near Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station. We decided to try the Umakara (which comes standard with a yogurt sauce) and the Gekikara (which features its own spicy, non-Bhut jolokia sauce), each of which cost 410 yen (US$3.70). After seeing that our paperwork was in order, the clerk asked us how much Bhut jolokia sauce we wanted, and we requested one shot for the Umakara and three for the Gekikara.
Back at SoraNews24 HQ, we decided to start with the Umakara. Volunteering for this assignment was Japanese-language writer Ahiru Neko, fresh off the difficult task of trying the all-you-can-drink beer deal at udon chain Marugame Seimen.
Visually, the Umakaea didn’t look too intimidating, as the creamy yogurt sauce keeps the “red-equals-spicy” logic centers of the brain from firing. Ahiru Neko grabbed the sandwich, boldly took a bite…
…and immediately set it back down and crumpled at the midsection as a look of discomfort washed over his face.
For several moments, he sat there staring silently at the sandwich. When we finally asked what was wrong, he told us:
“As soon as the sauce touches your lips, there’s a searing pain. It hurts. It hurts so bad. You start to get angry at the yogurt, because it’s not doing anything to protect you from the fire. It tastes good and all, but seriously, this is nuts.”
We nodded in solemn recognition of his lunch table valor…then pushed the even spicier Gekikara in front of him.
You know how we said the Umakara doesn’t look very intimidating? Well, visually, the Gekikara is about as inviting as a pool of magma.
Ahiru Neko steeled his resolve and dug in.
His description of the experience:
“My mouth is paralyzed. I have no concept of what’s going on, and my body becomes bathed in sweat. But once you resign yourself to the hopeless pain and despair of the spiciness, the flavor is good.”
And so it seems the best way to enjoy the Death Spicy Tandoori Chicken Sandwich is to accept your own frail mortality ahead of time.
Oh, one more thing. Like we said, we asked the Lotteria clerk for three shots of Bhut jolokia sauce on our Gekikara. However, Lotteria is willing to give you up to 27 shots if you think you, and your digestive track, can handle it.