What made it hot was habanero chiles--hundreds of them--heaped before contestants in the third annual habanero eating contest sponsored by Chichén Itzá, the Yucatecan restaurant in the Mercado.
Eight men and two women competed. This took courage, because the winner of a previous contest had to go to the hospital, or so I heard.
Chichén Itzá took precautions by providing jugs of milk to soothe blazing mouths and plates of cochinita pibil tacos, rice and beans to line stomachs before the fire hit.
Each contestant worked from a bowl of 30 chiles, the top amount eaten in previous competitions. There were extras that came in handy because a new record was set this time. The two who tied for first each ate 31 chiles.
First place winner María Durán, from the state of Mexico, said at the start that she expected to eat only 10 chiles. She's at the right in the photo above. Standing behind the contestants is Chichén Itzá chef-owner Gilberto Cetina.
Co-winner Martín Martínez (above), who is from Guanajuato, said he planned to eat "todos" (all) in the 20 minutes allotted. This he did and more, downing 13 chiles in the first five minutes alone. Each top winner will receive $500.
Contestants next year will start off with 31 habaneros, which is the new official record.
Want to try your hand, or rather mouth, at this? Then circle Father's Day, which is the official day of the competition, on next year's calendar and get in touch with Chichén Itzá. Even if you don't win a prize, you'll at least get lunch, and a T-shirt that says you survived the contest.