This actually happened back in … oh … the Fall of 1984. 23 years ago. Yes, yes, another old story.
A few guys (Fisoul, Zainal, Najib, Bahaman, and my roommate Hisham) and I were staying on the second floor of Mr. Taylor’s 36 Exchange Street. I happened to be in my room at the time, but the rest of the guys were happily cooking in the kitchen. They were making sambal tumis. A fiery type of chilli sauce, if you must know. The kitchen door was closed. For all the typical right reasons.
As always, every time you fried chopped onions in a skillet, the aroma was impossible to ignore. Added to that some chopped garlic, the devils would start packing their bags. Then those guys added the finely blended red hot chillies!
We all thought nothing of it, of course.
Then I heard some commotion outside. The tenants downstairs ran out to the streets coughing wildly. Then I heard the tenants from upstairs running down to the streets also coughing wildly. They had some discussion among them, wondering what was going on. They figured something was brewing in the kitchen.
One guy tried to be a hero. He ran back inside until half way up the stairs, then he stopped and turned around. He couldn’t take it. He ran back outside.
I realized what was going on, so I walked out of my room and headed towards the kitchen. When I opened the door, everyone could see white smoke came out. All the guys in the kitchen were chatting lively, while one was at the stove with the awesome sambal tumis. They had no idea what happened outside, until I told them.
The guys on the street yelled, “Geeez! What are you guys cooking, man!!?”
We replied, “Chillie, man!! Want some!!?”
Shaking their heads, they said, “No thanks, mannn!!”
And this was what happened in London on Monday.