Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

which cuisine has the spiciest food?


 Share

Recommended Posts

nothing like a cold raita (the indian curd based accompaniment) to cut the heat--unfortunately thai restaurants in bangkok don't seem to serve any. steamed rice can be a good antidote but for me applying anything hot to my tongue right after it has encountered extreme spice-heat only makes it worse. cold--lukewarm rice on the other hand is good too. as is a chilled lager--the brits do get some things right :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the hottest dishes I've ever had was Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Jerk sauce is typically made with scotch bonnets (Habeneros).

A few years back some friends and myself decided to participate in a local cooking competition in Napa. It is called "Valley Men Who Cook". It is open to amateur cooks from all over the area and is usually held at the CIA's Greystone facility in St. Helena.

The first year, we made Jerk drumettes. Drumettes worked because we had to supply up to 300 individual servings. 300 drumettes and about 50 habaneros in the sauce. For those that thought is wasn't hot enough, we provided a number of bottled hot sauces for their use, including Dave's insanity. I never use the stuff myself, but, one of team mates thinks it is great.

That year the judging was done by notable Napa Valley women. One of them being Margrit Mondavi. One of my team mates isn't exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. When Margrit came to our table he was the only there and he dumped a bunch of Dave's Insanity on Margrit's drumette. I could see the steam blowing from her ears from across the room. :shock: I'm quite sure her palate was ruined for the remainder of the day. Needless to say, we didn't win.

For killing the heat in your mouth, beverages are the worst thing you use. All they do is spread the heat over your mouth even more. Rice, Bread or, in the case of a mexican restaurant, Tortilla chips seem to be the best. The absorbitive qualities help to wick the heat out of your mouth. If you are on Atkins, your screwed. Just feed the fire.

Andy Szmidt

WineMiles.com - great wines! low prices!

The early bird may get the worm. But it is the second mouse that gets the cheese.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure which cuisine of those mentioned would be considered the spiciest in terms of "hotness," but I use the widest array of spices when putting together dishes from India.

The hottest thing I have eaten recently was on a trip to Yucatan... the salsa fresca I had been slathering on my breakfast every morning (which I knew contained habanero peppers) was so incendiary one morning that my eye sockets started sweating! My lips and throat burned for several hours thereafter, no matter how much cheese and bread I consumed. :blink::shock:

Edited by thursdaynext (log)

"A good dinner is of great importance to good talk. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." Virginia Woolf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the only dish that i have ever been physically unable to eat--so hot was it--was a Hunan chicken at a Toronto restaurant on Spadina ave.

i'm convinced that the spicing was a mistake, as i *love* spicy food, and this dish caused violent reactions (cankers, sores) in my mouth within minutes.

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

India is by far the largest producer of chile peppers in the world, but you need to consider its large population as a factor of this gross product.

The people of Thailand consume an average of five grams of hot peppers per person per day, more than twice the average in India. Koreans are close behind the Thais, eating more than twelve ounces of chile-spiced kim chee every day.

The cuisine of Szechuan and Hunan does not have as many spicy dishes, but some can be extremely hot.

Mexican food is only occasionally spicy and, even then, moderately so.

For some other features, see:

http://www.hawaii.rr.com/leisure/reviews/a...rhcpihawaii.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

India is by far the largest producer of chile peppers in the world, but you need to consider its large population as a factor of this gross product.

The people of Thailand consume an average of five grams of hot peppers per person per day, more than twice the average in India. Koreans are close behind the Thais, eating more than twelve ounces of chile-spiced kim chee every day.

The cuisine of Szechuan and Hunan does not have as many spicy dishes, but some can be extremely hot.

Mexican food is only occasionally spicy and, even then, moderately so.

For some other features, see:

http://www.hawaii.rr.com/leisure/reviews/a...rhcpihawaii.htm

this is interesting info. however, kim-chi isn't necessarily spicy--my wife, for instance, likes it best once it has fermented for a while and is more tangy than spicy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pakeporkchops,

Mexican food is only moderately spicy???? I beg to differ. Having been to both Thailand and Mexico and eaten at lots of Indian and Sri Lankan places, THE spiciest food I've ever eaten was in Mexico. You gotta travel, man, and eat at real local joints.

Markets are pretty boring, I agree, but usually, there's one good restaurant or bar in every town. Just ask around and you'll find stuff that you won't even be able to eat without begging for oxyger. Again, I don't like the fact that chiles are only used to make things hot, moderately hot, somewhat hot or tourist hot. You want flavors AND spice, you go to Southern Mexico and tell me that Thai or even Sri Lankan is better or hotter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aloha, you'all.

I don't dispute that there may be individual or regional dishes in different countries that may qualify as the spiciest dish ever. It would be very difficult to compare these dishes, as each one of us have followed different paths in our culinary adventures. I have traveled and eaten in Thailand, Malaysia, Szechuan, and Mexico, among other Lands of Fire, and it would be impossible for me to contend that a particular dish that I tasted was hotter than anything that someone else consumed in another country.

What I was suggesting is that the evaluation of a national cuisine, an aggregation of all regional cuisines in that country, necessarily involves the gross product of powerful chiles used by all of the people. In that respect, China is low on the list, and I suggest that Mexico, with its variety of chiles and the influence of France and Spain upon its cuisine, would be lower than Thailand and Korea.

Mongo, you are right about kim chee, and you probably know that kim chee is only the beginning in Korean cuisine. I've never seen redder soups than Korea's.

Except for soups on the Red Planet, of course.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is 'spiciest' may be a matter of what you're used to - an exotic spicy dish probably has more impact than the spicy food Mom used to make.

Agree.

Although I've got a reasonable tolerance for chilli heat, horseradish and English mustard (two ingredients which I never really grew up eating, and which I find exotic) totally kill me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I fished out a tiny chili, and, in a moment's inattention (probably talking too much or maybe disappointed that it wasn't a clam), I popped it in my mouth, chewed and swallowed. Uh oh. Big big big mistake. This was a genuine fresh piri-piri chili (the fiercely hot Moçambican variety that is now a feature of Algarve cuisine) I immediately discovered, and the effect was like I'd munched on a tiny stick of nitro-glycerine. It wasn't just hot, it was explosively hot. Painfully and incredibly worryingly hot. As with those vindaloos of old, nothing it seemed would assuage the heat: I glugged a bottle of Quinta da Aveleda (a light, quenching vinho verde), sucked down a few beers, tried gargling with mineral water, stuffed bread down my mouth, ate ice cream. No better at all. And it wasn't just my mouth that was on fire: worst of all, I could feel that piri-piri chili inside me, burning a hole in my stomach lining. It was one of the biggest mistakes of my life and my stomach has never quite been the same since...

I had exactly the same experience in Central Africa, as a Peace Corps volunteer. I was eating at a "host family" house. They had a fish stew. I accidently ate the chile pepper. As I gulped down water and gasped for breath they said, "You shoudn't eat that; that's for flavor". Of course, they knew not to eat it. But I spent years in my youth eating Tex-Mex and Mexican and I was used to chile peppers. I hardly noticed what it was, and it was covered in sauce. Hours later I could feel a burning sensation in a long track that led from my mouth, down my throat, and through my stomach. It was like nothing I have ever experienced in any Mexican, Tex-Mex, Thai, or Indian meal.

Edited by lueid813 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't think of any Korean dishes that are really all that spicy. Kimchee? I agree with whoever said that kimchee is more about the fermentation, the brightness, that sparkly quality, flavors and textures other than the heat. In fact a lot of types of kimchi are not hot at all.

We do eat Korean peppers raw, and i guess they are hot. I'm not much of a hot fiend either. I consider myself an average hotness lover, and they are not horribly hot to me.

I would say that based on what people have told me, Thai is probably right up there. I'm curious about Jamaican.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't think of any Korean dishes that are really all that spicy.

Well, I think your standards for spiciness are different from mine! Kimchi is not what I think of when I think of really hot Korean food, but while I like a robust amount of hot pepper in a lot of my food, there have been times when some of the really red dishes at Korean restaurants have made me hiccup. Yes, I usually finish them, anyway. :biggrin:

Oh, I guess I should add that I'm not too good at remembering the names of many of the Korean dishes I've had, though I recognize them readily enough on menus.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't think of any Korean dishes that are really all that spicy. Kimchee? I agree with whoever said that kimchee is more about the fermentation, the brightness, that sparkly quality, flavors and textures other than the heat. In fact a lot of types of kimchi are not hot at all.

We do eat Korean peppers raw, and i guess they are hot. I'm not much of a hot fiend either. I consider myself an average hotness lover, and they are not horribly hot to me.

I would say that based on what people have told me, Thai is probably right up there. I'm curious about Jamaican.

jschyun,

the reason i put korean food up there in my top 5 (in one of the earliest posts on this thread) is partly because on average it has a lot of dishes that are spicy (if not all that spicy--unlike say bengali which on average has dishes that are mild to sweet), and partly because the korean dishes that can get spicy can get really spicy (yook-gae-jiang, for instance); plus as you note koreans are among the people who eat raw green chillies for fun--my mother-in-law almost killed me with one of these on a family picnic; she kept telling me to eat one 'cos they weren't really spicy chillies, but wouldn't you know i got the one monstrous one on the plate; all the koreans present thought i was being a baby till she took a bite from it as well and had steam come out of her ears; i still think she was sending me a message.

plus my wife cooks fairly spicy--then again she's taken to using my chilli powder.

mongo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An interesting discussion this, but one where there is possibly a slight loss of ' the point'. What one person deems to be intolerably ' hot' is most likely VERY tolerable to the next person. My husband can only manage a medium curry ( or equivalent), anything slightly deviating above that level is pushed aside as inedible. However, I can eat a curry/whatever that has my nostrils steaming and me enjoying it for a few days!!! :biggrin:

I do agree that Thai food is exceptionally well heated, but is so well balanced with sweet/sour/hot that it almost goes unnoticed. I prepare a dipping/spooning sauce of finely chopped spring onion, carrot, cucumber and chilli in a white wine vinegar, water and sugar syrup that is the perfect foil for such heat. ( and always accompanies Sate)

So, IMO, there will not be a general consensus re ' hotness' as so many define that so differently.

An aside though. The hottest dish I ever ate was at my local pub where a very new Chef/Cook decided a whole jar ( not even fresh!) of green curry paste should suffice for two portions of Thai Green Chicken Curry. It was totally inedible.

I mean totally!! :wacko:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the point isn't really to achieve consensus (as you point out, impossible to achieve) but to have a discussion about what people find hot and to get a sense of the range of different expressions different cuisines find in different places.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okey Dokey :smile:

I wonder though, just how many taking part in this discussion have actually partaken of these variously ' hotly' debated cuisines in those particular countries. My experience of a New Zealand born Italian's food in New Zealand, and that IN Italy is vastly different, and Im not talking ingredients, they are sourceable here. Rather, it appears to be an interpretation and realigning to a local palate.

Same applies to all ' Hot' cuisines.

That is not authentic, and can lead to confusion when faced/tasting the real thing!

When living in Italy, before returning to NZ, I remember being delighted that a Chinese Restaurant had opened in Sondrio, an hours drive away. It was an utter disappointment. Chinese owned and operated, I found olives in my fried rice.

'Nuff said! :hmmm:

I should perhaps add that I realise I am slightly off topic! I do that. But I do believe that most ethnic foods available in EVERY foreign country are adapted to suit.

Shame...but a fact.

Edited by Sentiamo (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

But I do believe that most ethnic foods available in EVERY foreign country are adapted to suit.

Shame...but a fact.

I agree. It's just a matter of how much the cuisine in a particular country/area/region has been modified that should be in question.

But I'm dragging this further off topic, so I'll stop now.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please dont stop!! Just love the name ' Herbicidal' BTW. My husband is in Biological Control ( Plants) with a Regional Council here in NZ. Herbicidal is nearly a dirty word here!! lol! :biggrin:

Off topic stuff can be fun too dontcha know?! :wink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okey Dokey :smile:

I wonder though, just how many taking part in this discussion have actually partaken of these variously ' hotly' debated cuisines in those particular countries. My experience of a New Zealand born Italian's food in New Zealand, and that IN Italy is vastly different, and Im not talking ingredients, they are sourceable here. Rather, it appears to be an interpretation and realigning to a local palate.

Same applies to all ' Hot' cuisines.

for the purposes of this discussion i think this is largely irrelevant. in fact one of the points made in this thread was that "indian" food at the average curry house in england is probably way hotter than at analagous restaurants in india. similarly thai food at the average american thai restaurant is about as hot as a weekend with martha stewart.as long as you specify where you encountered the cuisine you're nominating we're in the clear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the reason i put korean food up there in my top 5 (in one of the earliest posts on this thread) is partly because on average it has a lot of dishes that are spicy (if not all that spicy--unlike say bengali which on average has dishes that are mild to sweet), and partly because the korean dishes that can get spicy can get really spicy (yook-gae-jiang, for instance); plus as you note koreans are among the people who eat raw green chillies for fun--my mother-in-law almost killed me with one of these on a family picnic; she kept telling me to eat one 'cos they weren't really spicy chillies, but wouldn't you know i got the one monstrous one on the plate; all the koreans present thought i was being a baby till she took a bite from it as well and had steam come out of her ears; i still think she was sending me a message.

plus my wife cooks fairly spicy--then again she's taken to using my chilli powder.

mongo

Ahahahha! Well, if your mother in law was sending you a message then she must have veggie psychic abilities because I think that's impossible for normal people. Hmm, biggest one on the plate, eh. I'll have to remember that. But I guess now that you've had you're head blown off by a chili pepper you're one of the gang?

The peppers we've been getting at the local Korean market seem to be pretty bland. Come late summer, maybe they'll get better. I was going to grow my own this year, but now I'm too busy to baby those things.

I do eat a lot of rice though, so maybe that's why I don't think things are so hot. A lot of people will say Korean food is so hot, but I sort of think they should just eat more rice. However, I eat more rice than even the average Korean person, so it's just my opinion.

The Korean pepper heat seems to me to be a clean, pleasantly burning heat. I've never had digestive problems from anything Korean. If anything, the heat will work up a nice sweat and clear your sinuses. Good for you.

I'm curious what will happen if I grind my Thai Dragon chilis and make something from them. I won't have enough to make my own kochujang (red pepper paste). Maybe I'll make soft tofu stew (soondubu chigae) or maybe cut them into really thin threads for a spicy kick in everything. Maybe I'll just leave well enough alone.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder though, just how many taking part in this discussion have actually partaken of these variously ' hotly' debated cuisines in those particular countries.

The last time I was in Korea was several years ago, I admit. However, the heat seemed to be about as much as I've ever seen in CA.

Hmm, yook gae jang is hot yes, but I never thought it was that hot. Maybe I just go to the wrong places. We don't make it that hot at home. I mean yes it's red, but that doesn't mean anything. Lots of rice! :biggrin:

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mongo initially asked two questions:

1. Which is the spiciest cuisine ON THE WHOLE?

2. Which cuisine has the spiciest dish?

The answer to the second question, as many have suggested, is entirely subjective and fosters the sharing of individuals' memories over different years and miles.

The answer to the first question necessarily involves per capita comparison. Korean dishes, taken by themselves, may not be extremely spicy. When such dishes are eaten in complementary combination morning, noon, and night, however, they are exceeded only by the Thais and Indians, and followed by the Mexicans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you spent time in Malaysia? If so, how does Malaysian food (exclusive of Cantonese-Malaysian, I guess I should stipulate) fit into that ranking?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spent some time in KL, Ipoh and Melaka (for food, of course).

Malaysia should be right up there, as chile is the country's biggest crop. How much it affects the cuisine, however, depends on the type of chile (different from the Thai preference) and how much is exported.

Remember also that East Malaysia is on the island of Borneo, along with Brunei and parts of Indonesia.

As with the other Malay cuisines of Indonesia and the Philippines, Malaysia can produce some spicy cuisine, but the really hot stuff is reserved for condiments, rather than added to the dish in large amounts while cooking.

It's likely that the South Indian influence does not reach Borneo as strongly as it does Thailand. Also, Borneo is close to the Spice Islands in Eastern Indonesia, so the variety of flavoring was quite extensive.

Thus, the cooking of Sarawak and Sabah would moderate Malaysian cuisine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...