Food & Drink

World’s spiciest food

Craving some spicy food? We’ve scoured the globe and found five tongue-numbing dishes that are guaranteed to put some fire in your belly. Be prepared to break into a cold sweat – these dishes are seriously hot.

1. Shrimp cocktail
Who would’ve thought that a humble shrimp cocktail could be so lethal? Well, there’s a restaurant in America’s mid-west that dishes up a shrimp cocktail that is so hot that it can fork its way into your brain (not literally). And guess what? This dish doesn’t even contain chillies; the spiciness comes from the 20 pounds of horseradish grated over the shrimps.

2. Phall curry
If you think Vindaloo is hot too hot to handle, you might want to step away from the Phall curry. Originating in Birmingham in northern England, Phall is said to be the hottest curry on earth. Rumour has it that some restaurants award customers a certificate if they successfully manage to eat a whole bowl. Phall curry contains 10 different types of peppers, including Habanero, Scotch Bonnet and Bhut Jolokia.

3. Vindaloo Pork
Speaking of curry, Vindaloo Pork is undoubtedly one of the hottest dishes in the world. Brought to Goa in west India by the Portuguese, this recipe contained pork preserved in red wine, peppers and garlic. It was later adopted by the Indians and became a spice-enriched curry. Whatever you do, don’t drink a glass of water after downing this dish as it will only make it worse. When your mouth is on fire, milk is your best option.

4. Sichuan Hot-Pot
Now, we’re off to Sichuan in southwestern China for a boiling-hot broth of garlic, onion and Sichuan “flower” peppers (famous for their numbing effect). It’s called the Sichuan Hot-Pot and it’s seriously hot. The broth is left simmering on the table while raw pieces of meat and vegetables are thrown in. You can try this specialty in many Chinese restaurants, but the hot-pots served in Sichuan are the real deal.

5. Neua pad prik (Thai pepper steak)
This Thai delicacy is as spicy as it is simple. The cook throws some pieces of beef into a pan, seasons them with shallots, basil and garlic, and only then adds a large quantity of Bird’s Eye chillies. Ouch. Famous across Thailand and Indonesia, these chillies are the main culprits for Thai cuisine’s signature heat.

25 Comments for "World’s spiciest food"

Robert Graham says on July 17th, 2009 at 11:19 am:

Where are the recipes?

jerry says on January 24th, 2010 at 5:01 pm:

wow the last dish sounds like the wasabi (japanese horseradish i think) if youve gone to a sushi place and your kid was like hey whats the green icecream and ate the whole thing or a lot of it.pretty much the same happens as in the last article.ive only had enough wasabi so that it feels like its going up my nose and i say oh great too much wasabi and cringe in pain for 30 seconds.

Jude says on January 28th, 2010 at 7:53 am:

Okay, first I’ll admit that I haven’t actually tried the real Sichuan hot-pot but I question that it’s that ‘spicy’. I make a lot of Asian dishes (& not from little sauce packets either). I have Sichuan peppercorns that I use in some Vietnamese dishes & to make my own Chinese 5-spice powder as the store mixes are insipid. These little perppercorns do have a somewhat numbing effect but I don’t find it bad in the least. I love it!!

Now, I can’t take chili pepper hotness. I’m a wimp that way & when I make Asian foods, have to cut way back on the amount meant to be used. But the Sichuan peppercorns fall into a different taste effect completely – unless the Sichuan hot-pot contains lots of hot chili type peppers too.

I found out that kumquats are related to Sichuan peppercorns since after 5-6 kumquats in a row, my tongue feels a little numb too. Have you ever tried chewing on these little peppercorns to see if you find them spicy or was this a review from somebody else?

Bazza says on March 3rd, 2010 at 11:19 am:


You are correct, the Sichuan peppercorns do not contribute any “heat” to the dish but the copious amounts of Sichuan dried chili certainly does, if you look at the picture you can see some of those little devils floating about.

John says on May 31st, 2010 at 7:13 am:

Out of these 5 dishes I only had the “pleasure” to try Vindaloo Pork. As the dish arrived I dared my 3 kids and wife to at least dip a small piece of Nan bread in the sauce and taste it which the eventually all did.. the kids taste buds where pretty much killed then and there and they kept on complaining throughout dinner that their mild Chicken masala only tasted chilli. Now for my own experience.. Hot is a general term that does not do this dish justice. I was in schock after the first bite. I quickly realized that if I was to have a chance in hell to finnish this monster of a meal I had to do it quick before I passed out or died of a hartattack. 10 minutes and 3 liters of water later head pounding mouth on serious fire eyes close to popping out of thier sockets all done!! Funny enough I would probably do it again because despite the pain it’s extremly tasty. A final word of warning though.. eating it is one thing, passing the spices through your system is a completely different matter.. I slept 40 minutes last night.

RAine says on June 23rd, 2010 at 3:23 am:

Wow….. All dishes look so delicious!!!! yummmmmmmy!!!!!!!!!

Ayn raand says on July 22nd, 2010 at 5:04 am:

My wife tried the phaal and had to be admitted to hospital due to ruptured gut .

Sujit says on August 5th, 2010 at 3:20 am:

While I commend the review, I believe some of the dishes mentioned above are just made to make them ultra-spicy.
I come from India and have tasted the Vindaloo in Goa, where it originated and is a part of the everyday local cuisine. It is nowhere hot or spicy when compared to curries from other parts of India. Incidentally, I belong to Nagpur, a city in Central India and we have a local cuisine which is named as Saoji cuisine. I bet its a lot lot more hot and spicy than the vindaloo. Its an everyday fare for us Nagpurians.
The same is the case with Phal, I saw it appear on Adam Richman’s Man v Food on Travel Channel at an Indian Restaurant ‘Bricklane’ in NY. They showed the preparation and it was like intentionally making it hot by adding all kinds of chilli peppers so that the person who eats it finds it untolerable. I can put in a pound of Bhut Jholakia(Ghost Chilli) paste in a bowl of curry to make it hottest that way. But does it reflect the true story? No, in my opinion. Ghost Chilli is locally grown in the state of Assam in India and I have seen 1-2 years old toddlers effortlessly chewing on these chillis without shedding a single drop of tear. Again, since it was served in an Indian joint, I presume it is being presented as an Indian preparation. In my 35 years of existence in India since birth, I have never heard the name of a dish named Phal in any part of India.
In my opinion, Florin, you should have only included dishes which people in that part of the world have it in their everyday diet.
Ofcourse, I have never had Sichuan Hot pot or the last one, shrimp cocktail myself. So can’t really comment on those. But the same applies to them too.

bino says on October 2nd, 2010 at 12:56 pm:

the no 1 spiciest food is looks not spicy

bill says on January 2nd, 2011 at 7:15 pm:

As far as I knw Phal was invented by Indian restaurants in the UK to cater to drunk guys that wanted ‘the hottest curry’…

Zach says on April 21st, 2011 at 5:00 am:

Wow thats nuts i mean i thought i was doing pretty good up in the 400k scoville unit range but thats got to be in the 900k to 1 Million. Guess i got to just keep on going. Im trying to get to the hottest peeper on earth which is now from Cumbria. The Naga Viper rates an astonishing 1,359,000 on the Scoville scale, which measures heat by the presence of the chemical compound capsaicin

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Maan Sardast says on October 26th, 2011 at 2:36 pm:

You should try “Suicide Wings” at the Frog and the Firkin in Vancouver!! One small nibble is enough to make you pour sweat, numb your tongue, burn your mouth and bring down the sniffles!! The sauce has a ridiculous amount of chilies, ginger and garlic not to mention black pepper.. Try it if you’re in the North West..

A.l says on October 31st, 2011 at 9:55 am:

It is not technically right to compare horse radish with chillies, they are different in terms of spiciness

reapi says on June 4th, 2012 at 12:52 am:

its always good to give it a try

AvocadoFuzz says on January 8th, 2013 at 12:32 pm:

This list requires a redo. First off, I absolutely agree with A.I. it’s entirely wrong to put any radish based, or non-capsaicin heated food in the “worlds hottest dishes”. And to Sujit, quit your whinging. There is food that is flavored with chilis as culinary enrichment, and then there is “sport hot”. I beat the Man Vs. Foods time by two minutes at Brick Lane in NYC. The meal was an event, like walking on glass while flagellating ones self. Eating food this hot is taking risk with out any really negative outcome. I do not believe that the author could have ever tried a Phaal (culinary or sporting style) as there is simply no dish hotter. Of Phall’s there are even sub-varieties which are rated as high as 6 million scoville such as the widower. This article should be removed or updated due to its inaccuracy. Next time, why don’t you actually try the dishes, and do some further research.

John Jebakumar says on January 20th, 2013 at 3:08 pm:

Personally, being an Indian who has lived(living) in UK and having a taste for the spiciest foods in India (I haven’t tried the North East Indian cuisine though), I can say that the Andhra cuisine is the hottest I have had so far. My mom cooks pretty much that cuisine everyday with certain dishes at home and we are advised that drinking anything during the meal is unhealthy (we drink a glass of water before and after the meal). I have tried the wasabi sauce and horseradish sauce in the UK and they are different in terms of hotness or spiciness to chilli peppers or things made of chilli peppers. I have also tried the Sichuan province dishes cooks in the UK eateries and also by a friend of mine from Sichuan, Thai cuisine available from Thai outlets run by Thai people in UK, The vindaloo curry in UK (vindaloo isn’t that spicy in India), The so called phall curry (I haven’t heard of anything like that in India) in the UK and I can easily say that going anywhere near Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh and having a Hyderabadi Biriyani or a local mess(a cheap eatery) meal will toss every other dish here straight out in the dust. I am BTW from Chennai which has a strong influence of Andhra cuisine because of the proximity and my home cooked food can’t be eaten even by some of my mates in my city. I’ve got my facts right AFAIK, so, go get your facts right. Try it! Not in the posh restaurants in high street Hyderabad, but in a smaller hotel or mess in and around Hyderabad. :)

BarVader says on September 23rd, 2013 at 9:08 am:

A.l: I agree on that point. The spicy sensation of eating radish and eating chillies is not the same. You feel chillies’ pungency directly in the mouth, and if you are not “well-trained”, also in the stomach. The pungency of radish and wasabi is felt just in the nose — I like eating wasabi when I’ve got a cold ;-)

Regarding to chillies, a friend of mine told me once: “There are two classes of spicy food. Good quality spicy food hurts you only once, when you eat. Bad spicy food hurts you twice, when you eat, and…”


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