Capsi-come again? Get to know this obscure-sounding fruit and why it has Pinoys talking

With all the benefits of eating capsicums, you may want to cook menudo a la Erwan Heussaff right after reading this story.

Anne Curtis has endeared herself to the public not only because of her beauty and acting chops, but more so for her wit, charm—and the occasional bloopers on live national TV.

Because she’s the Anne Curtis, even the slightest, most innocent of mishap usually becomes viral on the internet, making the rounds online for several days and resurfacing every so often when the occasion calls for it.


One such moment that resurfaces every now and then is from a 2017 Tawag ng Tanghalan segment on the noontime show It’s Showtime, where Anne is one of the main hosts.

The contestant, a young girl, shared that she wanted to be a chef. Anne then asked her what’s the one dish she would learn how to cook first, with the girl quickly answering menudo

Anne and Vice Ganda then proceeded to banter about the ingredients for the dish, mentioning potatoes, carrots, raisins, and pork. Somewhere along the way, Anne uttered something that completely baffled her co-host.   

“Capsicum,” Anne said.

Ano?” Vice answered, looking genuinely confused. “Ano ‘yun?”

Anne repeated the word but the comedian was still clueless. 

“Red peppers,” Anne tried to explain.

Arte mo! Wala namang ganyan sa karinderya namin. Baka mapa-away pa ako. Baka mabatukan ako,” Vice Ganda joked.

The hilarious exchange trended soon after, with the video resurrected every so often, most recently as fans celebrated Anne’s 39th birthday last Feb. 17.


With lots of Capsicums 🫑🌶️ Anne’s birthday Menudo Pork Marinade: 200g Pork Belly 300g Pork Leg 1/3 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup calamansi juice Liver Paste (good option for people who don’t like chunk of liver) 250g Pork liver (covered with milk overnight) 2 tsp of fish sauce 2 tbsp minced ginger 2 tbsp of olive oil 2 tbsp of cold water 1. Fry ginger in 1tsbp oil until toasted in color, add liver and cook through. 2. Blend everything with 1 tbsp of oil, 2tbsp of water and fish sauce. Stew ¾ cup carrots ¾ cup potatoes 1/3 cup onions 2 tbsp of minced garlic 2 tbsp tomato paste 1 can of whole peeled or crushed tomatoes 2 bay leaves Water to just cover 2 cups of mixed bell peppers Salt, fish sauce and pepper to taste Olive oil as needed 1. Give some color to the carrots and potatoes. 2. Take them out and fry off your ginger and liver for the paste. 3. Take that out and fry off onions, garlic and tomato paste. 4. Add pork back in with canned tomato, bay leaves and water. Season with 1 tbsp fish sauce. Add 3 tbsp of liver paste. Simmer and cover until sauce has reduced by a third (about 40mins). 5. Add carrots and potatoes for 10mins. 5. Add bell peppers, cover for 2 mins.

♬ original sound – Erwan Heussaff – Erwan Heussaff

Husband Erwan was quick to pay tribute to the viral video by posting a TikTok short where he shared a recipe for menudo with lots of—guess what—capsicums. 

This is not the first time Anne’s James Beard award-winning hubby poked fun at her by referencing her live TV mishaps in his content creations. 

Last year and also for Anne’s birthday, he made pancit canton with lots of cheese in response to another of his wife’s funny moments with Vice Ganda.

Now, back to the original conundrum—what in the world are capsicums?

Capsicum 101

A quick Google search reveals that all bell peppers and chili peppers belong to the genus Capsicum, according to Britannica and Medical News Today

This means that a bell pepper, which Filipinos are more familiar with, is one kind of capsicum. 

And just like tomatoes, capsicums are fruits and not veggies. They are among those plants most people think of as vegetables that are actually fruits, botanically speaking, that is.

Quoting a Britannica entry: “The fruits of this species (Capsicum annum) are integral ingredients in the cuisines of many countries worldwide. The plant is also grown as an ornamental or as a source of medicine.”

Remember: Capsicums are fruits, not veggies! Photo by Vyacheslav Argenberg, Wikimedia Commons

Capsicums have been cultivated for thousands of years, but are native to Central and South America. They are now grown worldwide and have become a staple in many cuisines, such as here in the Philippines where they are used in dishes such as menudo, caldereta, and afritada

They are added to dishes as part of the main ingredients or as garnishes, with their bright colors making a dish look more mouthwatering. They can also be baked, grilled, or sautéed, and even stuffed with other ingredients. Some kinds of capsicums like bell peppers can be eaten raw.

Bell peppers come in four colors: green, red, yellow, and orange. Each color has a slightly different flavor profile, with green being mild and sweet and red being the sweetest. Red bell peppers are just green peppers allowed to ripen on the vine.

These kinds of capsicum aren’t spicy because they don’t produce capsaicin, the chemical that causes a burning sensation in your mouth.

Bell peppers come in four colors: green, red, yellow, and orange.
Chili peppers come in various levels of heat. Photo by Mx. Granger,
Wikimedia Commons

If you want to make your dish spicy, what you should be reaching out for are chili peppers. They come in various heat levels ranging from mild to fiery hot. 

The Scoville scale measures the heat and pungency levels of chili peppers with a jalapeño at about 2,500 Scoville units, while a habanero can push up to 350,000 units. 

Bell peppers, on the hand, are on the bottom end of the spectrum, with Scoville units ranging from 0 to 1,000.

The Scoville scale measures the heat level of chili peppers. Photo by WhisperToMe, Wikimedia Commons

Paprika, meanwhile, is made from ground dried chilies that have been smoked or not smoked. 

Capsicums, then, are a reliable kitchen buddy—they are versatile ingredients, making dishes more flavorful and appetizing.

Health benefits

Eating capsicums have a lot of benefits. Photo by Melsi, Wikimedia Commons

More than just enhancing flavors, however, eating capsicums has a lot of potential health benefits, including managing pain and metabolic syndrome, a condition that appears to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high cholesterol.

The main active ingredient in many varieties of chili peppers is capsaicin, which is responsible for their hot flavor. Capsaicin and other capsicum compounds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

A 2015 study tested the effectiveness of capsaicin against infection-causing bacteria that were resistant to the antibiotic erythromycin. The results indicated the compound can kill these resistant bacterial strains. A 2017 research, meanwhile, showed it is associated with reduced mortality.

Capsaicin, an integral component of capsicums, is anti-angiogenic, meaning it helps prevent the growth of blood vessels that cancer requires for growth.
Photo by Takeaway, Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, studies revealed that members of the genus Capsicum may help lower the risk of cancer. A 2020 study reviewed research on the effects of capsaicin on the dreaded disease. Overall, the findings indicated that capsaicin is anti-angiogenic, which means it helps prevent the growth of blood vessels that cancer requires for growth.

The authors concluded that the combination of capsaicin with chemotherapy offers two advantages for people with cancer: pain relief and enhancing the cancer-fighting action of the drugs.

With all its health benefits, it’s not a bad idea to start eating more capsicums. Let’s start by putting more of it in our menudo, shall we? Photo by Judgefloro, Wikimedia Commons

Capsicums also contain high levels of vitamins A and C, important for maintaining healthy skin and supporting immunity. Additionally, capsicum contains antioxidants that help protect cells against damage caused by free radicals, molecules produced by environmental toxins such as pollution or cigarette smoke.

Now that we know how capsicums, whether bell peppers or chili peppers, aren’t only versatile ingredients but are also highly nutritious, maybe it’s about time for us to use it more often in cooking, starting with Erwan’s Anne-inspired menudo recipe. 

The new lifestyle.