We all love a good entree, whether it reminds you of your mom’s favorite home-made dish or it’s an exotic preparation that will send your taste buds on a wild adventure. Food is delicious, any way you look at it! For some of us, however, the spicier the better, so that begs the question: what are some of the spiciest foods in the world? This list will bring together a compilation of just that, and we can finally pinpoint the dishes that burn and sizzle, on and off the plate.
From North America to Asia, we will travel the globe as we search for the spiciest entrees, meat, vegetables, and everything in-between included. If you can stand the burn, there are many health benefits that you can reap from in overly-spicy foods, such as lower blood pressure and heart health. But why do we crave it so much? One theory states that spicy foods release endorphins in the body, much like when we eat chocolate or something very sweet. It turns out that our body’s release of hormones can really go both ways, so if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you might have a spicy one, instead. Whatever your case may be, the below list might serve as an inspiration for your next dine-and-vacation spot.
10. Fire In Your Hole Wings –Munchies 420 Cafe, Sarasota, FL
Sarasota’s Munchies 420 Cafe offers the “wall of shame” if you don’t successfully finish their extremely spicy wings. Their hot-and-spicy dish was actually featured on Travel Channel’s “Man Vs. Food,” in which the food enthusiast, Adam Richman, failed to finish the entire basket of 10 wings. These wings are put in a specially-combined sauce that includes a wide variety of some of the hottest peppers in the world, not to mention the world’s hottest pepper, the ghost pepper. Needless to say, Adam did not finish, and the “wall of shame” is only getting larger. Do you have what it takes?
9. World Famous St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail — St. Elmo Steakhouse, Indianapolis, IN
A seafood classic, this bountiful appetizer will definitely leave you asking the staff for multiple glasses of water. While it looks small and harmless, this beauty packs quite a kick to your taste buds, and should be taken seriously. It is prepared without a single pepper, so how is it so spicy? The shrimp are covered in a heavy coating of surprisingly spicy horseradish sauce. This is one appetizer that will certainly open your sinuses, if you’re brave enough to try it.
8. Sichuan Huo Guo (Hot Pot) — In Various Pubs of Sichuan, China
This dish truly lives up to its name — a hot pot of various foods brought together in super spicy harmony. It is commonly prepared in the Sichuan region of China, and represents their traditional dish. It is filled to the brim with a variety of foods: beef, mushrooms, vegetables, sometimes even pig brain, cow’s throat, and duck blood. Yum! What makes this our number 8 pick is the mouth-numbing pepper oil that is found in the Sichuan region. This is truly for the food adventurer.
7. The Saltdean Sizzler Pizza: Paul’s Pizza — Brighton, England
If it says “Beware” on the box, maybe you should think twice before eating it. This delicious-looking pizza hides an extremely spicy undertow that sucks you in and spits you out. The pizza actually holds a double record for being one of the spiciest pizzas and spiciest foods in the world. Created by the restaurant owner, Paul Brayshaw, this pizza is topped with the flaming-hot ghost pepper, as well as slightly less but still mouth-numbing mozzarella, herb sauce, and tomato base. On the heat scale, this bad boy reaches 3.2 million Scovell! When asked about the tongue-scorching meal, Paul says, “…being a lover of spicy food, I thought I would include a challenge on the menu.” Challenge accepted!
6. Abiko Curry’s “Best of the Best” — Seoul, South Korea
While this dish may look yummy (not that it’s not) and satisfying, you will certainly need plenty of water and possibly some napkins to go along with it. With curry being one of the main spices used to make this dish, the entree is said to be “painfully spicy” by many brave souls who have attempted it. It will definitely leave you sweating after just one spoonful, but if you’re ready, this Seoul-ful dish will not disappoint, and you’ll be happy you tried one of South Korea’s traditional meals without passing out.
5. The 4 Horsemen Burger: Chunky’s — San Antonio, TX
This burger is the true cowboy of the Wild West. It was also featured on Travel Channel’s “Man Vs. Food” show, but only a scarce few have been able to keep this flame-thrower of a meal down. Dubbed the “hottest burger on the planet,” this burger contains fresh Jalapeno and Serrano peppers, a Habanero sauce, and the bone-shaking ghost pepper. To make this eating challenge even more interesting and scary, everyone is required to sign a “4 Horsemen Liability Waiver” and you must be 18 years of age to be considered (if under 18, you must have a legal guardian or parent with you, but that won’t make the spice any less intimidating). Every courageous soul who tries this challenge has 25 minutes to eat the burger, is allowed to drink anything except remedies, and cannot spit or share the burger, nor use the bathroom to alleviate the pain or escape through the window. Good luck!
4. Neua Pad Prik — Thailand
This famous dish is well-known throughout Thailand and Indonesia. Also referred to as the Thai Pepper Steak, this meal is simple yet spicy as they come. It is prepared by mixing pieces of beef with seasonings such as shallots, basil, and garlic. So what exactly makes this dish so spicy to be at number 4 on our list? A very large quantity of birds-eye chili peppers, which are famous across this region and have been known to give Thai food its original spiciness. If you love Thai food and don’t mind the occasional pang of spice on your tongue, try giving this new entree a shot. It will certainly raise the level of spice, and who knows? It might become your new Thai obsession.
3. Vindaloo Pork — Goa, India
We all know that most Indian cuisine uses a rich variety of spices, some of which are moderately spicy. In India, people refer to spicy food as “hot food,” since “spicy food” refers to meals with spices in them (in which case, all of Indian food). However, this entree takes the cake for “hottest food” ever in India. It was brought to Goa by the Portuguese, and the ingredients in this meal scream spicy. The pork is preserved in red wine, peppers, and garlic, but it is also drenched in spicy curry to adopt to the curry-focused Indian palette. In the above image, the meal might look like any other you’ve seen in Indian restaurants, but be aware of the hidden pepper that hides in the pork sauce. Recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the hottest chili pepper in the world, the Bhut Jolokia, also known as the most referred to pepper in this article — ghost pepper — it makes this dish “dangerously spicy” and the perfect number 3 candidate on our list.
2. Otak Otak — Southeast Asia, Singapore, and China
One of the more interesting dishes on our list, this entree is a spiced fish-meat cake that is popular in Southeast Asia. The name “Otak Otak” actually translates to “brain,” because of the custard-like consistency of the cake. It is typically served with coconut milk, a chili paste, and wrapped in a banana leaf. But don’t let the cool and calm appearance of this snack fool you: it is extremely spicy. In order to make the cake, the fish is grilled over a charcoal fire and ground up, and then combined with some of the spiciest chili peppers available in the region. You won’t know which ones until you’ve tried it, but at that point, your mouth will be on fire, so it really doesn’t matter.
1. Widower Curry — Bindi Restaurant, Grantham, England
It almost looks beautiful, with the fresh basil leaves adorning the rich reds of the peppers. You almost want to dive right in and begin eating, but this dish is called Widower Curry for a reason. It contains 20 Naga chilies, which are the second hottest chili peppers in the world, and the cooks who prepare it are forced to wear goggles and face masks! If that doesn’t deter you away from this true flame-on-a-plate, people have been known to sweat, cry, shake, vomit, and even hallucinate while eating this dish. A British doctor, Ian Rothwell, took over an hour eating the Widower Curry and began hallucinating shortly after, but he did manage to finish the entire meal and was awarded a certificate at the end! “Dr. Rothwell is a legend as far as I’m concerned,” says Muhammed Karim, the managing director of the restaurant. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!