How Fire Dragon Chillies Was Born
100% NZ grown, owned and operated
I’ve always loved hot food for as long as I can remember. For some reason, after a few drinks had gone down at many of the 21st birthdays I attended, someone would bring around a bowl of chillies. My best mate Carlos and I would usually face off and munch a chilli back. Some were hot, and some just blew your head off. So obviously a lot of tears were shed and we in turn made a lot of people cry. The endorphin rush you get from eating a raw chilli was a buzz for me, and now I have chilli with just about every meal.
It was my last overseas trip that really got me hooked. I flew into to Thailand, travelled through Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and China. Thailand had some hot food but I’ll never forget a dish I had in Laos. I was on a tiny little island called Don Det in the Mekong. I had ordered the Chilli Chicken. When my meal came, I had kind of forgotten about the chilli bit, and with my chopsticks picked up about 5 green beans and a piece of chicken. It was only after chewing away and swallowing that I realised I had just eaten about 3 very hot chillies. I started to cough and cry, and had the hiccups for the next hour or 2. This dish had about 30 or so half chillies so I wondered what I had got myself into, but with a few cold beers and some Lao Lao (rice whiskey) I finished them all. What a rush! But the next day on the toilet (a hole in the ground) wasn’t so much fun.
All through Vietnam and China, they have little bowls of chilli and fish sauce to mix with your noodle soup. I had one for breakfast most days, loaded with chilli – awesome! After 4 months of travelling through South East Asia eating fantastic hot spicy food, my last stop was Beijing where I met my beautiful lady (also a kiwi) and the mother of my 2 young boys. We both enjoy hot chilli dishes, and there have been a few occasions when our toddler has eaten some of our hottest sauce quite by accident and much to his shock!
After Asia, I flew over to Canada and ended up working on a resort making a hot habanero sauce. This was my first time trying habaneros, and I would definitely not recommend eating a raw one to anyone that doesn’t love chilli! Of course I was right into it, and that became the hottest chilli I had ever eaten at that point. It was an orange habanero and the sauce I made was Deadly. The guests either loved it, or freaked, but most enjoyed the novelty and fun of trying it. We gave everyone who finished a plate of chicken wings with the Deadly sauce on it a free beer to congratulate them and to cool their fiery mouths!
Finally, we travelled through Central and South America where I ate probably some of the hottest chillies I had ever tried, namely, the Piquin in Mexico and the Gringo Killer (Manzano, Rocoto, Caballo). In Guatemala, a guy gave me this yellow chilli to try. It looked like a little yellow capsicum and after the habaneros I thought I could handle eating it. I took a massive bite and chewed it back. The heat hit my throat as I swallowed it down and the first hiccup soon followed. Then my eyes started streaming and my nose was running too. It felt hotter than the habaneros that was for sure. I have to say it was painful for quite a while and the hiccups were out of control. All through Central America I tried as many hot sauces as I could, and even started to collect them to bring home.
Once I arrived home I quickly ordered a whole lot of seeds on the net and started to collect seeds from whatever chillies I came across. After 3 seasons of growing and making my own chilli sauce, I decided to turn my hobby into a business. So Fire Dragon Chillies was born at the start of 2008. I’m now living with my family in Northland, on an amazing piece of land near the Hokianga Harbour. Here I grow my chillies all organically with no sprays. The mineral water they are fed is straight from the earth through a natural spring. All the produce for my sauces are grown by us or other growers in Aotearoa. All have no preservatives, additives or colourings. And all come packed with quality chillies grown by me for you. My sauces are all HOT so please use with caution and enjoy.
The Fire Dragon name is because myself, my mother, her father and his mother are all born in the year of the Dragon. When I was in China, people were amazed at this, having four generations of the luckiest sign all in one family, and would practically bow down to me in honour of the dragon.