[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 October 2007, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
Burning chilli sparks terror fear
Chilli pepper
The dish uses extra-hot chillies which are deliberately burnt
A pot of burning chilli sparked fears of a biological terror attack in central London.

Firefighters wearing protective breathing apparatus were called to D'Arblay Street, Soho, after reports of noxious smoke filling the air.

Police closed off three roads and evacuated homes following the alert.

Specialist crews broke down the door to the Thai Cottage restaurant at 1900 BST on Monday where they discovered the source - a 9lb pot of chillies.

Nam Prik Pao recipe
Heat garlic and shallots in oil and remove to a bowl
Place red chillies in the pan with some oil and fry until they go dark in colour. Then set aside
Mix shrimp paste with the rest of the ingredients and pound in a mortar and pestle
Return the mixture to the heat until it becomes a thick dark coloured paste

The restaurant had been preparing Nam Prik Pao, a red-hot Thai dip which uses extra-hot chillies which are deliberately burnt.

But the smell prompted several members of the public to call the emergency services.

Alpaslan Duven, a Turkish journalist based in the restaurant's building, said: "I was sitting in the office when me and my chief start coughing and I said this was something really dodgy.

"I looked out of the window and saw people rushing and then we heard the sirens."

Supranee Yodmuang, the restaurant supervisor, was above the restaurant when she received a phone call from her boss.

"It was about 4pm when I saw the police who were closing off the roads but I didn't know why.

"My boss rang me and said I had to get out of the building because of a chemical attack."

She added: "Because we're Thai, we're used to the smell of chillies."

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The street was closed off for three hours while we were trying to discover the source of the odour."



RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific