It wasn’t a surprise when the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food host Adam Richman took our advice and faced the Spicy Tuna Roll Challenge at Bushido. First of all, the challenge has become a locally-known test of strength. Secondly, the spicy tuna rolls are really freaking hot.

The challenge goes like this. A warrior (the kind name given to the poor suckers who attempt to complete the challenge) must eat ten spicy tuna hand rolls, each spicier than the one before, in order to achieve the prestige of being a spicy tuna roll master. There is no time limit, so most complete the challenge within the confines of a few months, eating one roll at a time. Only ten have succeeded at completing the entire challenge in one night , which was what Richman was ready to accomplish Friday night.

I can tell you from experience that level one tastes like a normal, delicious spicy tuna roll. Level ten feels like someone decided to light a match and burn you alive from the inside out. But once you finish and keep it down, you receive a headband, your picture on the wall of the restaurant, a $25 gift certificate to Bushido, and all the benefits of being a spicy sushi-eating master. After level ten, those benefits include being confined to the toilet for an extended period of time. (Again, I know this from experience.)

Bushido was packed when we arrived in large part due to the interest in seeing the filming of the popular television show and because people with earlier reservations wouldn’t go home, leaving those of us with later reservations to sit outside, away from the commotion. It was no matter to us though. We were enjoying the warm night air and the ability to hear each other talk, leaving the table periodically to see how filming was going.

At 11:04 p.m., five hours after he was supposed to start the challenge, Adam finally sat down with rice, glasses of milk, and a white mayonnaise- concoction at his side. (I hear this white sauce is an ancient Japanese recipe, but I’m suspicious.) I admit; I was frustrated that Adam started the challenge so late, but I must say that in the end, I was impressed. He finished all ten rolls in only 20 minutes, faster than any who came before him. This is a feat only an insane or highly admirable person could accomplish. Even Adam’s silly karate kid stance at the end didn’t sway my respect for what he did.

So, good job Adam! I hope the rest of your stay in Charleston isn’t nearly as painful as what you no doubt felt in the bathroom last night.

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