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Russian Roulette, the fate-tempting game of chance with deadly consequences, was undoubtedly inspired by Roulette’s iconic wheel. Thankfully, a few enterprising foodies came up with a great idea for a similar game with less severe possible consequences – unless, of course, you have a food allergy or are a sore loser.
The idea of Food Roulette is not a new one. However, it is not as common as it could or should be, because it really is good fun! For those with adventurous taste buds it’s as exciting as playing online Roulette, except the ‘prize’ is rather different! This is how you can play the game with friends and family.
Playing Food Roulette
The wheel used at European Roulette tables has 37 pockets. Those numbered from 1 – 36 are coloured either red or black; the 37th pocket is the green 0 pocket. Players’ bets are lost if the ball lands in the green pocket. In Russian Roulette, the bullet is the green pocket.
When it comes to playing Food Roulette, you need several individual portions of food, of which one is strongly spiced or otherwise unpleasantly flavoured – that’s the green pocket. While not necessary, it can help to have a glass of sake, tequila, cold milk, or another drink, as a consolation to the loser.
Prepping for the game is a fantastic opportunity to get creative in the kitchen, but if you don’t have the time or inclination, a bottle of hot sauce can go a long way. In restaurants that offer the game as part of the menu, identical individual portions are served.
Whatever you decide to do food-wise, you will need to include a noticeable amount of chilli pepper, hot sauce, wasabi, horseradish, a sour plum, or similar in one of those portions. You need to take extra care that the doctored portion cannot be distinguished from the others until it is tasted.
Place the shot of tequila (or another drink) in the centre of the table, and, if serving the food on individual plates, place the items around the glass. Each participant takes a portion and tastes it. If the participant who got the spicy portion did not spontaneously combust, the shot of the tequila is theirs. Everyone else wins by being able to actually taste their food for the rest of the evening.
Food Roulette in Restaurants
Aussies and Kiwis have a reputation for not being able to resist a game of chance, so it’s no wonder that Food Roulette is a thing Down Under. Restaurants in Australia, as well as a New Zealand pizza franchise, have done exciting things with the game, and it has brought patrons in droves. Food Roulette is also big in Japan.
Din Tai Fung, which has restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne, offers Spicy Dumpling Roulette. The game is played in style, and sees patrons’ portions selected by a spinning wheel. The loser is the one who gets the Carolina Reaper chilli-stuffed dumplings.
Sydney’s Daniel San’s Manly offers a platter arrayed with 24 pieces of sushi, although not just one of them is loaded up with wasabi. This version of Food Roulette is a big, bad take on Wagaya’s Sushi Roulette platters. Smaller than the Aussie version, the Japanese franchise’s platters come with 6 pieces of sushi, of which 1 is loaded with wasabi.
New Zealand’s Hell Pizza chain, which also has stores in Australia, Canada, India, and South Korea, offers Pizza Roulette. Patrons receive the pizza in a coffin-shaped box, and those playing the game each take a slice, one of which is coated with 3AM Reserve chilli pepper oil. The pepper is one of the hottest ever cultivated.
If you love food and love a challenge, make a point of playing Food Roulette with your friends. It’s bound to be an evening not forgotten in a hurry.