Spicy food. You either love it, you hate it or you’re trying to get used to it (like my partner is). If you love it then we can almost gurantee that you’ll want to taste all the spicy foods around the world. Being obsessed with spicy food myself, I wanted to share the spiciest foods in the world are, just so you can add them to your bucket list.
Travel to: India
Check out our list of every spicy food below that you can find around the globe. Grab your knife and fork, chopsticks, spoon or just use your hands to eat, and get ready for a spice-fuelled, culinary adventure.
Type of food: Curry
Spicy ingredient: Dried red chilli peppers
Best restaurant to eat Vindaloo: Venite, Rua 31 De Janeiro, Sao Tomé, Panjim 403001, India
Fun fact: Vindaloo is derived from the Portuguese dish carne de vinha d’alhos
Vinda-who, you ask? If you’re not already familiar with this dish, Vindaloo is mainly popular in Goa and around the Konkan area. The original recipe is prepared with pork meat and can be found mostly in the restaurants of Goa. Anywhere else, you will find variations with lamb or chicken and potatoes, as well. Only once you’ve tried this dish will you truly understand what it’s like to have your mouth set on fire, but too be honest, it’s guaranteed to be a culinary sensation like no other.
2. Tom Yum
Type of food: Soup
Spicy ingredient: Crushed chilli peppers
Best restaurant to eat Tom Yum: Tom Yum Goong Banglamphu, Soi Kraisi, Khwaeng Talat Yot, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
Fun fact: It’s one of the most popular Thai dishes across the globe
Although this hot and sour shrimp soup originates from Central Thailand, it can also be found in countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore or Laos. If you’re looking for a partner to follow this spicy soup, make sure you team it up with a pad thai or pad see ew (a mild noodle dish if you can’t handle the heat).
3. Shrimp Creole
Origin: Louisiana, USA
Type of food: Main dish
Spicy ingredient: Hot pepper sauce and cayenne-based seasoning
Best restaurant to eat Shrimp Creole: Upperline Restaurant, 1413 Upperline Street, New Orleans, LA, USA
Fun fact: The basic recipe is almost always altered depending on what the Chef has on hand
Though there are many different variations of this dish, one element that always stays the same is the spice-factor. Hot and dangerous (but in a good way), this dish won’t disappoint the spice-lovers out there.
Travel to: USA
4. Jerk Chicken
Type of food: Chicken dish
Spicy ingredient: Jamaican jerk spice (scotch bonnet peppers are in there)
Best restaurant to eat Jerk Chicken: Scotchies, Falmouth Road, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Fun fact: Real jerk chicken is cooked over both coals and fresh green wood
You can’t go wrong with a serving of Jerk Chicken, and it is an essential part of Jamaican cuisine. While the origins are from Jamacia, this is a delicacy that can be enjoyed around the world.
5. Phaal Curry
Origin: Birmingham, England
Type of food: Curry
Spicy ingredient: Chili peppers and sometimes habaneros or scotch bonnets
Best restaurant to eat Phaal Curry: Chambeli Restaurant, 146 Southampton Row, London WC1B 5AG, England
Fun fact: It’s even hotter than vindaloo!
Disclaimer alert: this is a seriously hot dish. In fact, one of the hottest of them all! Order it if you’re game, but don’t come running back to us and complain that it was too spicy. You’ve officially been warned.
6. Papa a la Huancaina
Type of food: Appetizer
Spicy ingredient: Aji Amarillo
Best restaurant to eat Papa a la Huancaina: Blue Alpaca Restaurant, Calle Choquechaca nro. 278, segundo piso A la Mitad de la Calle, Cusco, Peru
Fun fact: Aji Amarillo is a super hot pepper and a huge part of Peruvian cuisine
Some people would argue that Peru is home to some of the best food in the world, and has been acknowledged as the food capital of South America. To that, we’re not going to argue. Find out for yourself why food-lovers from across the globe flock to Peru to indulge in local cuisine and to try Papa a la Huancaina.
7. Sichuan Hot Pot
Origin: East Asia
Type of food: Communal main dish
Spicy ingredient: Dried Chili and Sichuan spicy bean paste
Best restaurant to eat Sichuan Hot Pot: Shu JiuXiang Hotpot Restaurant, WuHou District YuLin Community NiJiaQiao Road 11-2, Chengdu, China
Fun fact: This dish traces back to the early 20th century
Get yourself to China, now! Why? To sample this spicy little number, of course. Just keep in mind that food in China is not like your regular takeaway Chinese food. It’s bolder. Better. And delicious in every respect. Aside from the food, China offers some of the most incredible local experiences that you won’t encounter anywhere else. From visiting faux-European towns to walking across the worlds longest glass bottom bridge and of course the Great Wall of China there is much to see and do.
Origin: South Korea
Type of food: Stew
Spicy ingredient: Kimchi and chilli peppers
Best restaurant to eat Kimchi-jjigae: Gwanghwamun House, 12 Saemunan-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea.
Fun fact: It takes between one and three months to make a Korean-style kimchi
You might not expect South Korea to harbour some of the spiciest dishes in the world, but it does. If you’re looking for a unique gastronomy jaunt, South Korea should be next on your go-to list. The street markets are out of this world and Seoul is unquestionably foodie hub.
9. Sik Sik Wat
Type of food: Stew
Spicy ingredient: Berbere, an Ethiopian spice mixture
Fun fact: Berbere is basically added to everything in Ethiopia
If you’re looking to shock your tastebuds, this is the dish for you. In Ethiopia, the distinct cultural heritage is evident in the rich, diverse flavours of each dish. Sik Sik Wat is essentially hearty (not to mention SPICY) stew made up of a few sauces combined with meat or vegetables.
Hungry for more? Take a look at our 12-Month Guide to the Best Food Festivals Around the World.