The World's Spiciest Cuisines and Which Ones You Should Try

The World's Spiciest Cuisines and Which Ones You Should Try

Whether you love it or hate it, you’ve probably got a pretty strong opinion on spicy food. One of the reasons early explorers went off to find new lands was not only to bring back valuables like gems and gold, but also to find new spices. For thousands of years, spices were a commodity that could only be found if you actually went to where they were grown. Fortunately, this is not a problem we face anymore today. If you’re looking to find an exciting new dish to try, check out this list of the world's spiciest cuisines and which ones you should try.


The dish Jjambbong was invented by Chinese immigrants who landed in Incheon, Korea, in the 1800s. This Korean noodle soup with its spicy kick is intense. Lots and lots of noodles, along with carrots, zucchini, and cabbage, are joined by squid and mussels, all together on a massive platter. The red broth is prepared from kelp and gochukaru, Korean chili powder with a sweet and smoky heat. Korean cuisine's defining feature is fiery spice, and there is no exception to the rule. Many other Korean foods, including spicy stir-fried octopus and braised chicken breasts, also have gochukaru and gochujang on them.


In Indonesian and Malay, otak translates to “brain,” and this dish's appearance alone serves as a reference for the name. However, otak does not contain brain. Otak-otak is a fish-based meal that consists of spices, tapioca starch, and fish paste all wrapped up in a banana leaf. Belacan and galangal, which tastes like pepper but looks like ginger, are two root crops used, along with other kinds of peppers that are grown in the region. Malaysian and Singapore variations of this meal are reddish-orange or brown because of the inclusion of chile, turmeric, and curry powders.

Tom Yum

There is an unrivaled appeal in this spicy and pungent soup from Thailand, a cuisine that everyone is already well acquainted with due to its widespread popularity in bordering Cambodia, Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore. The people know well how to take flavor and warmth into the food. In addition to components like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, lime juice, galangal, and fish sauce, this cuisine also incorporates elements like bird's-eye pepper, spicier meats, and seafood. If you're after prawns, look for “Tom Yum Goong”, and for chicken, order “Tom Yum Gai."  Even if you're a novice to Thai food, you will still know when you've ordered your first fiery dish because it's in bright red or orange so that it reflects the heat like a stop sign.

Kimchi Jjigae

It's possible that you've experienced Kimchi Jjigae in the West, but in Korea, it's eaten as a stew. That means that the way Americans and Europeans usually experience Kimchi Jjigae is quite bland compared to the way it's enjoyed in Korea. The components in the recipes are simple and affordable, making them the perfect choice for an easy meal. This recipe is a hot and flavorful soup consisting of vinegar cooked for a long time with several other ingredients, including several scallions, garlic, mushrooms, tofu, red chilies, and more. The blazing hot stew is a mixture of sheer spice, because it is boiled in chilies and because of the process of slow cooking. This hot and delicious dish is one of the world’s spiciest cuisines, and is definitely one you should try.

Sichuan Hot-Pot

It's best to eat this spicy dish in the winter. The Sichuan hot pot is an appetizing dish that helps blood flow and warms up your taste buds. It's the perfect dish to get you through the colder months. In your quest for the thrill of eating hot, spicy food, your end destination is the hotpot, where you are free to pour in whatever food ingredients you like. I hope you're ready for the broth of the soup, because the things that we'll put in it are a potpourri of spices, vinegar, mushrooms, vegetables, pork, beef, lard, a wide variety of meats, Sichuan peppers, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine, chicken feet, and basically anything else you can think of!

Chicken 65

This spicy dish consisting of red chili peppers is famous in Tamil Nadu. It's made with pieces of golden fried chicken, ginger, garlic, and fiery chilis. Many theories surround the origins of this dish, one of which says that Chicken 65 was invented for a South Indian army cafeteria in 1965, making it the 65th dish on the menu. Multiple accounts all recommend 65 chili peppers be included in the recipe, and others argue the meat should be 65-day-old chickens. No matter the origin, this delicious dish is incredibly hot and is sure to excite those of us looking for an even hotter take on hot chicken.


Rista is a dish of hot meatballs stewed in a thick, tomato-based gravy, seasoned with saffron, garlic, ginger, fennel, red chili powder, and other local spices. This dish originates from Kashmir and is normally made with lamb. This delicious Kashmiri specialty turns red from the ratan jot root, which is historically used to color Indian dishes. The Kashmiri Wazwan is a 36-course meal that represents the pinnacle of Kashmiri cuisine and culture. In order to get a sense of traditional Kashmiri food, as well as the purest form of rista, order the Wazwan. 

Spicy Goanese Curry Vindaloo

Many of Goa's tastes and foods were adopted from the Portuguese colonists. The traditional pork version of vindaloo is preserved with a red wine and fresh garlic concoction with green peppers and garlic pods. The Goans, who added vinegar, green chilies, and red chilies from Kashmir also spiced it up with cinnamon, cumin, coriander, turmeric, vinegar, and additional spices. “Bhoot jolokia,” or the infamous ghost pepper, is the hottest chili in the world and is now in use by present-day chili powder manufacturers. If you like dishes that are powerful enough to make you question whether they're too hot to be considered edible, this is the perfect dish for you.

Jerk Chicken

The Jerk Chicken, also known as the dish with the "six side spicy food bombs," is made up of chicken wings that have been Hell-brined, smoked, and then grilled to greatness in a mixture of hot scotch bonnet chile sauce, loads of yellow mustard, and a variety of other scorching spices. Without this traditional dish, which locals call "Jamaican fire," people in Jamaica don't consider a dinner complete. It is an unbelievably popular dish, and the ingredients include chicken wings marinaded in habanero peppers, cinnamon, cloves, thyme, nutmeg, garlic, ginger, and green onion stems. On the side you'll find a bowl of some extra banana and guava ketchup, mustard sauce, and, of course, additional scotch bonnet chiles sauce. This really hot dish is sure to test your tolerance to heat.

If you’re a major spice-head, all of these dishes are worth trying at least once. Some may prove hotter than others, but you don’t know until you’ve tasted them! If reading this list has given you an unbearable craving for spicy foods, you can try recreating some of them at home using Don Emilio’s morita chile sauce!

The World's Spiciest Cuisines and Which Ones You Should Try