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Bird's eye chili pepper Capsicum frutescens Solanaceae


Scoville heat units



Pure capsaicin












Bird's eye chili  50,000-100,000  













Native to the Philippines, this is locally known as "Labuyo". It's very hot and is often mixed in sauce instead of mixing it in dishes. Its color ranges from green, orange to red.
Indonesian: Cabai rawit

Bird's eye pepper, cabe rawit

Bird's eye chili (Thai: พริกขี้หนู, RTGS: phrik khi nu, IPA: [pʰrνk kʰξː nǔː], literal: mouse dropping chili; Indonesian: Cabai rawit; Tagalog: siling labuyo) is a chili pepper of the species Capsicum frutescens L. in the family Solanaceae, commonly found in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore. It can also be found in India, mainly Kerala, where it is used in traditional dishes of the Kerala cuisine (pronounced in Malayalam as kanthari mulagu Malayalam: കാന്താരി മുളക്). This species (known as kochchi in sinhalese) is also found in rural areas of Sri Lanka, where it is used as a substitute for green chillies. It is also a main ingredient in kochchi sambal, a salad made using freshly scraped coconut ground with thai chillies and seasoned with salt and lime juice.

The term Bird's eye chili is also used for the North American Chiltepin pepper, both due to their small round shape and because they're widely spread by birds.

The bird's eye chili plant is a perennial with small, tapering fruits, often 2-3, at a node. The fruits of most varieties are red, some are yellow, purple or black. The fruits are very pungent. The flowers are greenish white or yellowish white.

Taxonomically, it has long been thought that the bird's eye chili belongs to Capsicum frutescens L., but there are now some who list the bird's eye chili as belonging to Capsicum chinense.

The bird's eye chili is small but packs quite a lot of heat. At one time it was even listed as the hottest chili in the Guinness Book of World Records but other hotter varieties of chili have since been identified. It measures around 50,000-100,000 Scoville units which is at the lower end of the range for the hotter Habanero chili.


All chilies found around the world today have their origins in Central America and South America. Chilies were spread by the Spanish and the Portuguese in their quest to build a global empire and are still grown in their former colonies in Africa and Asia. The chili varieties found in Southeast Asia today were imported and cultivated by Spanish and the Portuguese colonists and traders.
The chilies may also be referred to as cili padi (cili pronounced "chili") in parts of Malaysia because their small size reminds people of the small grained rice eaten as a staple in the region. In the northern parts of Malaysia, this chili is known as cabai burung or bird chili as birds like to eat this variety of chili.

As well as the Malay word, Thai chilies can also be referred to as cabe rawit (Indonesian), lombok rawit (Javanese), cengis (Banyumasan language), cengek (Sundanese), phrik khi nu (พริกขี้หนู, Thai), Thai hot, Thai dragon (due to its resemblance to claws), siling labuyo (Filipino), ladβ, and boonie pepper (the Anglicized name).
Phrik nam pla - bird's eye chili with fish sauce and lime juice - is served with nearly every Thai meal

The fruit of the bird's eye chili is popularly used as a spice and as a chili condiment in Filipino, Indonesian, Laos, Malaysian, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. It is what gives local dishes, such as the Filipino bicol express, their fiery zing. The chilies can also be used to flavor vinegar. The leaves are also edible and can be eaten as a vegetable, for instance in the Filipino dish tinola.

The more decorative, but slightly less pungent variety, sometimes known as Thai Ornamental, has peppers that point upward on the plant, and go from green to yellow, orange, and then red. It is the basis for the hybrid Numex twilight, essentially the same but less pungent and starting with purple fruit, creating a rainbow effect, and among the group of Capsicum annuum. These peppers can grow wild in places like Saipan and Guam. The Chinese in Southeast Asia call this pepper 'the chili that points to the sky'.

In medicine, the bird's eye chili was traditionally used to ease arthritis and rheumatism, and also as a cure for dyspepsia, flatulence, and toothache.

It can also be used as a natural insect repellent or pesticide when mixed with water.