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Chichen Itza's habanero-eating contest is back

Habanero

How hot can you handle? If you can endure up to 350,000 Scoville heat units, you might be a contender for Chichen Itza restaurant's second annual Chile Habanero Eating Contest. Chichen Itza's looking for contestants for the contest on June 17, part of the Father’s Day celebration at downtown’s Mercado La Paloma.

Specializing in the cuisine of the Yucatan peninsula, Chichen Itza utilizes plenty of ultra-hot chiles habaneros. These small, round capsaicin grenades rate 150,000 to about 350,000 on the Scoville scale, which means they're really hot -- hotter than scotch bonnets and hotter than bird's eye chiles. Each contestant will face a basket of habaneros. The person who eats the most chiles in 20 minutes will win a $50 gift certificate from Chichen Itza.

The contest starts at 2 p.m.; contestants can register prior to the event or up to one hour before the contest time at the restaurant. Five contestants will be selected by special drawing to participate. 

3655 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 741-1075, www.chichenitzarestaurant.com. 

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-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Bob Carey / Los Angeles Times

 
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