MARION — The smell was enough to make a person’s nose water.

As plates of Pad Thai began filing out of the kitchen Saturday at Baan Thai in Marion, the air was filled with the aroma of hot chilis.

The dishes were set in front of the scores of contestants there for the Thai Hot Challenge. The first person to finish their plate before the 10 minute timer expired was deemed victorious. Prizes consisted of gift cards and t-shirts, but the real award was bragging rights.

Bradley Turner finished the contest in just over 2 minutes. He said he nearly vomited on the last bite. The heat wasn’t the problem, but the amount of food.

Annie Albert, the restaurant’s owner, said she hosted the contest to encourage people to eat Thai food.

When describing just how hot “Thai-hot” is, she said restaurants typically have a heat scale from one to ten. Thai-hot is closer to 30 or 40.

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