As a rule, any food with “death” in the name is best avoided. This is true regardless of how homely the original dish might be. “Chocolate cake”, for instance, seems like a lovely way to kick off afternoon tea. Death chocolate cake, on the other hand, sounds like something the Grim Reaper might bring to a bake sale.
Anything that so explicitly states its intention to do damage promises to not be the most pleasant of dining experiences. Nonetheless, even in this subcategory of “deadly” foods, there are dishes that ultimately fail to deliver, and those that really put their money where their mouth is. The “Death Noodles” of Jakarta are definitely in the latter category.
First reaching viral notoriety back in 2016, the dish is the brainchild of a particularly sadistic hole-in-the-wall eatery in the heart of the Indonesian capital. Officially known as “Mie Goreng Pedas Mampus”, the dish features a blend of prepackaged Indomie egg noodles, a fried egg and enough firepower to supply the whole of US military.
Check out our recipe for a Noodle Stuffed Giant Sweet and Sour Chicken Ball:
Abang Adek, the restaurant that spawned this volcanic dish, actually offers diners a range of different customisable dishes, with different toppings and flavours that aren’t liable to blow your head off. However, it’s clear from the preparation method of the Pedas Mampus that flavour comes secondary to causing pain.
The scorching dish is flavoured with a brutal blend of between 100 and 150 bird’s eye chillies, which some estimates suggest gives it a cumulative Scoville rating of 20 million SHUs. A bottle of Tabasco, by contrast, weighs in at just 5,000 SHU. To call the death noodles “spicy” is like saying the earth’s core is “quite toasty”.
Unsurprisingly for such an intensely angry plate of food, Mie Goreng Pedas Mampus has a long and growing list of victims. In 2016, a prominent food vlogger claimed that the dish caused him to go deaf for two minutes, while the internet is littered with hilarious and wince-inducing videos of hapless diners giving the noodles a go.
While trying local dishes should always be encouraged, wherever you travel, we suggest taking this advice with a pinch of salt and a massive glass of milk if the dishes in question have death in the name. It might sound obvious, but some food is no joke.