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A Spicy Food Diary: 15 Daring Spicy Dishes From Around the World to Numb Your Tongue

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Updated on February 4, 2024

Reviewed by Salma Ihab

Spicy food is not for everyone. Some people prefer to have their food with flavours that they can tolerate. On the other hand, some just love to challenge themselves to try the spiciest foods ever. No matter how hot and painful it can be, they just seem to enjoy this feeling. Many cultures built their culinary base on super spicy food, including the Indians and Mexicans, to name a few. Asia also embraces more than a few countries that like to spice their food up. If you are up to trying new dishes with extreme spiciness, we dare you to give any of the following ones a shot. 

History of Spicy Food

You may have wondered how this food category came into being. Well, let us tell you a quick story about spicy foods and how they were brought to life. It seems that human beings were walking this Earth and liked to struggle while chewing and gulping their meals. According to history, Latin Americans were those people. 

Legends have it that South America had spicy food as a tradition for thousands of years. That was even before the continent got its name, which means it was centuries before the arrival of Columbus. It makes sense since South America is home to the world’s chilliest red peppers. They have been using it as a main ingredient in creating their meals long before red peppers started spreading to the continents of the Old World.

Does that mean that before the discovery of the New World, Asia and Africa, including India, had no spicy food? Well, not precisely; spicy food was still a thing in countries with hot climates. They definitely didn’t use them to warm themselves up. Instead, they used red chilli peppers to preserve their meat, which tended to go bad in hot weather. The generous spices helped keep the meat intact and gave it an edgy flavour. 

15 Most Popular Spicy Dishes from Different Places Around the World

We have your back if you enjoy gobbling down food that numbs your tongue. This list features some of the hottest dishes from around the world. Most of the world’s most famous hottest dishes are of Asian origin. We may have mentioned that chilli peppers were birthed in South America, but Asia seems to dominate the spicy food scene.

1. Phaal Curry – India

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Phaal Curry from India

Phaal Curry is a British-Asian recipe that serves a fiery dish that seems to challenge you to determine whether you will be capable of keeping on going. Commonly known as Phall, it is one of the most popular spicy food in the world. It will surely leave your tongue with an intense burning sensation, thanks to the chilli peppers and Carolina Reaper peppers in it. 

2. Papa a la Huancaina – Peru

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Papa a la Huancaina from Peru

Papa a la Huancaina is an appetiser dish that originated in Peru and is known to be one of the country’s top spicy food. The dish consists of boiled potatoes and eggs soaked in a sauce made from fresh white cheese (queso fresco) and sauteed or grilled ají amarillo chilli peppers, its primary source of spiciness.

3. Jerk Chicken – Jamaica

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Spicy Jerk Chicken from Jamaica

Jerk chicken is a Jamaican dish known for being super hot and features in Caribbean cuisine. It is one of the country’s spicy food options that you have to try if you like having your tongue numbed from the extreme hotness. The super spiciness of this dish comes from seasoning the chicken with Scotch bonnet peppers, known to be the hottest peppers ever. 

4. Trinidad Scorpion – The Caribbean Island

If you like mixing spicy food with some little notes of sweetness, Trinidad scorpions will serve you right. This little super hot pepper has a fruit-like flavour that works on cooling down your numbed sensations and pulsating nerves. It is used to make some of the world’s spiciest dishes ever.

5. Sichuan Hot Pot – China

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Sichuan Hot Pot from China

Sichuan hot pot is a Chinese dish originating from the province of Sichuan. This dish gives spicy food its notorious name, for its hotness is not one that is bearable. The hot pot comprises sliced meat, seafood, noodles, vegetables, offal, and, of course, Sichuan peppercorns. All the ingredients help reduce the burning sensations resulting from the Sichuan peppercorns.

6. Pork Vindaloo – India

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Pork Vindaloo from India

India is known for its highly spicy food options, so you need to ask about the level of spiciness of any Indian dish before gulping it down. Pork Vindaloo is one of the most traditional spicy Indian dishes. It consists of spicy powder made from mixing dry roast red chillies, cloves, poppy seed, black pepper, cumin, and whole mustard. Fresh red chillies are also added to the pork shoulder pieces for extra hotness.

7. Buffalo Wings – United States

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Buffalo wings from the USA

Buffalo wings are a food staple in American cuisine. Besides the delicious chicken drumettes with dripping sauces, the spiciness is what gives this dish its edge. The deep-fried chicken wing is deeply dipped into a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce before it is served. It is often accompanied by other dipping sauces. This buffalo sauce, though, ranks the dish among the top spicy food worldwide.

8. Tom Yum – Thailand

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Tom Yum from Thailand

Asian lands are home to the spiciest dishes ever, and Thailand is no exception. Thai cuisine offers its hot and sour soup, Tom yum. We suggest you give it a shot if you are into spicy food. The soup is cooked with shrimp to add rich protein to the meat and helps in making the soup quite satiating. 

9. Pad Prik King – Thailand

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Pak Prik King from Thailand

Another Thai dish that gives spicy food its good name is the pad prik king. This dish consists of red curry, a type drier than regular curries, yet its spiciness can be considered mild. However, the dish is quite aromatic, consisting of chilli pepper, green bean, and yardlong bean. Pork, chicken, or shrimp could be added as well.

10. Sambal Oelek – Indonesia

Sambal is not the main dish but a chilli sauce or paste with rocketing levels of spiciness. It is based in Indonesia and is used to make most spicy food dishes and give them a flaming flavour. The sauce contains bird’s eye chillies, tomato, garlic, shallots, and oil. 

11. Mexican Picadillo – Mexico

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picadillo mexicano

Mexico is famous for being home to one of the world’s spiciest cuisines. The Mexican picadillo is a favourite spicy dish in Mexico, Latin America, and the Philippines. What puts this dish on the list of daring spicy food is the renowned jalapeño pepper. The sauce is made from tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, onions, and garlic, mixed with herbs and spices such as oregano and cumin. The sauce can be used to season many different dishes and spice them up, but we prefer adding it to ground beef and potatoes to make the toothsome Mexican picadillo.

12. Pork Griot – Haiti

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Pork Griot from Haiti

Haitians are fond of spicy food; they seize every opportunity to fire up their meals with their renowned spicy chilli pepper. One of their most famous traditional dishes is the pork griot, which is quite scorching hot. Some also deem it the country’s national dish as it holds great significance in their history. Griot consists of pork shoulder pieces fried to golden perfection, accompanied by fried plantains and Pikliz, a Haitian condiment served with various Haitian dishes.

13. Widower Curry – UK

This Grantham-born dish is said to be the hottest curry in the whole world. It consists of a vehemently spicy curry, and there is an alleged story about a mid-aged man hallucinating post eating this fiery dish. The Widower Curry is made with 20 Infinity chillies, some of the world’s top spicy food, making the plate quite impossible to finish.

14. Kimchi Jjigae – South Korea

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Kimchi jjigae from South Korea

Spicy food dominates Asian cuisines, and South Korea is on top of the game. Kimchi Jjigae is the country’s national stew. This hearty stew consists of fully fermented kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage) with pork or seafood cooked to perfection in any type of broth you like. Onions, dubu (tofu), and scallions are also added for an additional flavour.

15. Sik Sik Wat – Ethiopia

Ethiopian cuisine is often based on lots of vegetables mixed with spicy food, especially meat. Such dishes are commonly known as wat; a thick stew served in a hot pot. One of their spiciest wats is the sik sik wat. This stew is based on red pepper paste, which gives the dish its hot taste. The beef is stewed in this hot paste, and other ingredients are added to flavour up the taste, including onions, garlic, and lemon juice, all served with Arab-style flatbread and enjoyed hot.

If you are a spicy food lover, we dare you to try out one of these scorching dishes and see whether you can finish what you start.

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