Marcus here with the latest Spanish Beyond the Textbook tip for you.

Is chili good or bad for you?

I’m not sure. Some reports say it helps blood circulation and digestion. But my father-in-law’s doctor told him not to eat chili. So, when we go to restaurants in Mexico Don Roman always asks the waiters,

¿La comida tiene chile?

Does the food have chili?

We have a running joke that the waiters will always answer a different question.

The waiter is guaranteed to answer, “No pica.”

What does, no pica, mean?

As far as I know we don’t have an equivalent verb in English.
The verb picar, means when the chili is hot/spicy and it burns your mouth.

The verb picar also means to sting, so, no pica, could also mean it doesn’t sting.

By the way, we often ask in English, “is the chili hot?” Or, “is the salsa hot?”

In Spanish that would mean is it hot as in not cold.

If you what to know if it’s spicy you can ask,

¿La salsa pica?
Does it “sting” the salsa?


¿Es picante la salsa?
Is it spicy la salsa?

A word to the wise, in Mexico if they reply, “no, no pica”,


It doesn’t mean that it won’t burn/sting you. The waiter probably has a lifetime of build-in tolerance to chili. It doesn’t sting him, but it might sting you.

Here’s a recipe for a delicious salsa que no pica mucho.

Ingredientes Ingredientes
4 tomates rojos asados

1 chile verde california asado

1/2 cebolla picadita

1/2 mazo de cilantro picado

1 cucharadita de orégano seco

sal y pimiento
4 Roasted red tomatoes

1 Roasted California green chili (If you can’t find them substitute canned green chilies)

1/2 diced Onion

1/2 bunch of chopped Cilantro (coriander)

1 teaspoon of Dry oregano

Salt and pepper


1. Quitar la piel a los tomates, moler con la mano los tomates
Remove the skin from the tomatoes, crush the tomatoes by hand.

2. Limpiar los chiles, picarlos de tamaño regular.
Clean and chop the chilies to a regular size.

3. Agregar a la salsa de tomate los chiles, la cebolla picada, el cilantro , orégano, sal y pimienta.
Add to the tomatoes salsa the chilies, the onion, the cilantro, oregano, salt and pepper

4. Poner a enfriar hasta el momento de servir.
Chill them until it’s time to serve them.