Prem Kumar, from New Delhi, India, regularly shocks people with his high tolerance to heat – the man can fry fish with his bare hands, dipping them into and out of a wok of boiling oil. The 65-year-old runs a street food stall in Karol Bagh, where he serves fried fish to thousands of customers each day. Most of them come just to watch him perform the rare feat of nonchalantly plunging his fingers into hot oil.
Kumar sells about 150 kilograms of deep-fried fish every day, along with other north-Indian delicacies like seekh kabab, mutton tikka, paneer tikka, and tandoori aloo. But a trip to his eatery is incomplete without witnessing Kumar prepare fish with his now-famous heat proof fingers. “I do not fry fish with hands all the time, it’s only when customers ask me for it,” he said. “I normally use kitchen utensils like tongs, but with people coming from all across India and requesting me to do hand frying, I cannot say no.”
Kumar claims to have inherited his special skill from his father, who opened the roadside eatery in 1960. Miraculously, the father-son duo have never suffered a single burn or blister during all these years of business. But Kumar says there’s no magic involved and attributes it to years of practice. “This is no miracle or gift of God,” he insisted. “As a child, I saw my father doing it and got curious how he could pull off that feat. I started with dipping my one finger in the boiling oil, then two, and so on. I realised that it did not cause any burns or injury whatsoever. Over the years, I built up confidence and now it as is easy for me as breathing.”