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Currying Danger: Restaurant's Spice Contest Puts Two In Hospital

A Scottish restaurant's competition to see who could eat the spiciest curry — and raise money for charity in the process — has ended in painful trips to the emergency room for at least two participants.

The Kismot restaurant of Edinburgh, which serves Indian and Bangladeshi food, challenged competitors to eat its hottest curry. At least 20 people answered the bell. But problems became evident almost as soon as participants began eating the curry.

As the competitors started in on their dishes, half of the 20 people who took part in the challenge had dropped out after witnessing the first 10 diners vomiting, collapsing, sweating and panting," reports The Scotsman.

By the time the remaining contenders reached the final bowl, dubbed the "Kismot Killer," the spice had become even more extreme, and it was clear that any victory would be of the Pyrrhic variety.

American Curie Kim, an exchange student attending Edinburgh University, came in second. She described the ordeal for the BBC:

"The woman who won ate the last bowl in four seconds and then ran outside to be sick, whereas I didn't. So I've learned I should have had a game plan like that," she said.

"There were three rounds and I managed half of the last bowl.

"I was in so much pain I wasn't aware of what was going on around me and when I got to hospital they gave me medicine for the indigestion."

The Scotsman reports that all competitors signed a legal disclaimer before eating the curry, "and two members of the British Red Cross were on hand, but they could not cope with the nature of the injuries sustained."

The BBC spoke to the man who arranged the contest:

Organizer Abdul Ali said: "The British Red Cross we had on board could not cope. We put our hands up. We did have to call the emergency services for a couple of our participants."

Mr Ali said he regretted that the services had to be called out on a busy Saturday.

He said all participants were now "fit and well" and more than £1,000 was raised for charity.

Proceeds from the event were donated to CHAS, the Children's Hospice Association of Scotland.

The restaurant's website has evidently exceeded its allotted bandwidth, so I turned to Yelp UK to learn more. Kismot has a 4.5-star rating out of 5 stars, based on seven reviews. And one satisfied customer confirms that at Kismot, they don't just bring the heat out for charity events:

We were offered the chance to endure 'Scotland's hottest curry' in a bid to make it to the Kismot Hall of Fame, I'm a curry lover but that was an offer I put off till another day. However, there was a table beside us who took the challenge, we all shared in congratulating a very satisfied if a little hot under the collar guest who had made it to the famous Kismot Hall of Fame.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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