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Hot hot hot - Chinese on fire at chili eating contest

Tang cleared his plate in just 68 seconds

It was a hotly contested competition.

An annual chili pepper festival kicked off Monday in central China's spice-loving Hunan province with a chili-eating contest in which the winner set a blistering pace by downing a gut-busting 50 peppers in just over a minute.

Tang Shuaihui took home a 3-gramme 24-karat gold coin for winning the competition.

With doctors on hand just in case, 10 contestants each held plates heaped with 50 Tabasco chili peppers.

Tang cleared his plate in just 68 seconds.

The Tabasco pepper has a rank of 30,000-50,000 on the Scoville Heat Scale that measures the piquancy of chilis, which puts it somewhere between a jalapeno and a habanero.

The peppers bobbing in the pool, however, were of a far weaker variety, partly to avoid irritating the contestants' skin. 

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