Thai Cooking Sparks Terror Threat in London
Even the world of gastronomy isn't safe from the ravages of the post 9/11 world. A Thai restaurant in central London put a scare through the city when chef Chalemchai Tangjariyapoon prepared his fiery signature nam prik pao chili sauce. Fumes from a huge pot of dry cooking bird's eye chilies sparked a terror alert that led police to break down the restaurant's door. Soho residents had complained of a chemical burning their throats and the London Fire Brigade quickly dispatched a chemical response team. Firefighters emerged from the eatery with a pot containing nine pounds of smoking peppers.
The chef was baffled by the commotion. "I was making a spicy dip with extra-hot chilies that are deliberately burnt. To us, it smells like burnt chili and it is slightly unusual," he told the London Times newspaper.
"I can understand why people who weren't Thai would not know what it was. But it doesn't smell like chemicals."