A spice lover’s guide to the globe | Gourmand and Gourmet

A spice lover’s guide to the globe

  • Food & Booze
Some like it hot, some like it mouth-scorching, gut-wrenching fiery. If you’re the adventurous eater who’s always complaining ‘It’s not even spicy!’ when it comes to a curry, perhaps you need to go a little further afield to find that perfect level of intensity. Pack a bag, because we’ve got a list of the spiciest meals in the world known for their tear-inducing capabilities. Some of the dishes on our list will literally make you sweat, but they are also so jam-packed with flavour that they’re totally worth putting on your foodie bucket list for sheer deliciousness as well as for bragging rights. Phall Curry | UK Yep, you read right, this spicy Indian curry originated in the UK, or specifically, Indian restaurants in the UK. Considered the hottest curry in the world, it uses ten different types of chillis (one of which has been turned into a biological weapon, no joke) and has been known to cause hallucinations. We might just stick to butter chicken. Kimchi | Korea Kimchi, the new darling in the hipster foodie world, is first and foremost Korea’s national dish. It is so popular there that cabbage shortages – the dish’s main ingredient – create a national crisis. Usually home made by fermenting vegetables for months in large pots underground along with garlic, spices and loads of chilli, spice levels in this dish can range from mild to tear-inducing. Vindaloo Curry | India Vindaloo, an Indian curry, is notorious in its native city, Goa, and around the world where it is served in southwestern Indian-style restaurants. It’s typically made with lamb, potatoes, red chillies – and bhut jolokia, the hottest chilli in the world according to Guinness World Records. Sounds like a challenge! Sichuan Hot Pot | China Be sure to have a towel on hand if you’re about to dip a spoon into a Sichuan hot pot, because things are about to get steamy. Adding actual heat to fiery burn of the spices it contains, this boiling broth, full of enough peppers that you can’t even see the bottom of the pot, is used to cook raw meat and veggies that dinners dip inside.  Luckily, special peppercorns in the broth numb everything into oblivion, so you can actually have your fill. Jerk Chicken | Jamaica Fragrant, fiery hot and smoky all at once, Jamaican jerk chicken is rubbed in the Caribbean’s favourite spice mix of pimento and a whole bunch of chillies to really bring the heat, like Scotch bonnet peppers, habanero, cayenne and jalapeño, before being flame-grilled to perfection. This one is definitely worth the burn. Creole Cau Cau | Peru This Peruvian meat and potato stew is sure proof that a chilli doesn’t have to be red to cause a burn. Thanks to the aji amarillo (a.k.a. the yellow chilli pepper), Creole cau-cau is sure to singe your digestive tract a little on the way down. Pad Prik Khing | Thailand A meat and vegetable curry, Pad Prik Khing gets its signature spiciness from prik khing curry paste, as does any Thai dish with the words “prik khing” (chili ginger) in its title. But whereas the paste—made mainly of dried red chillies but also shrimp paste, onions, garlic, lemongrass, kaffir lime peel and galangal—is used only sparingly in other dishes, it is the foundation of this one, with none of that creamy coconut to take the edge off. Thought you could handle a spicy curry at your local Indian takeaway? Think again. Compared to these, ‘very hot’ may as well be mild. Words by Ranyhyn Akui