1. India – Vindaloo Curry
What’s one of India’s most famous dish? Curry, of course. While many curries have been touted as the ‘world’s hottest’, such as Phaal curry, these are but pale imitations created outside of India. For an authentic spicy experience, try the Vindaloo curry, often accompanied by other meats. Originating from Goa, India, the original version of this tongue-numbing curry usually contains a harmony of subtle flavors, such as cinnamon and vinegar. If your tastebuds can’t take the heat, you’ll all be tasting the red-hot Kashmiri chilli peppers that give this dish it’s (enormous) kick!
2. Korea – Jjambbong
You would think that it’d be kimchi, but it’s not. And no, it’s not that ramen from the spicy ramen challenge. Instead, jjambbong takes the cake with its four different chillis from Korea, China, Vietnam, and India! This seafood noodle dish really knows how to pack a punch, and if you ever find yourself in Korea and you’re feeling particularly adventurous, head on over to Shingildong Spicy Jjambbong, with a killer soup base that’s been known for making people actually faint.
3. Thailand – Tom Yum
Thais like to make their food hot, and when we say hot, we mean like really, really mouth-burning hot. From green curry to pad thai, you just can’t seem to stop chugging down water (or everyone’s favorite – Thai iced tea). The winner, though, would really be their tom yum — a soup that embodies the Thai tradition of incorporating many different flavors into one dish. This sweet, sour, savory and of course, the spicy soup contains plenty of crushed bird’s eye chili peppers, so prep yourself for a face full of tears (and plenty of iced tea) as you down this bowl of no-chill.
4. China – Mala Hotpot
China is full of tongue-searing dishes, and combined with how large this country is, it’s pretty hard to decide which one would top the list! But after combing through all these tears-inducing dishes… Mala Hotpot would probably come up on top. Literally “numbing, spicy”, this hot pot will have you running to the nearest water point. What’s with its dried chilli peppers, chilli powder, and numbing Sichuan peppercorn?
5. Japan – Mouko Tanmen Nakamoto Ramen
One wouldn’t think of Japan when spicy foods in Asia is discussed. After all, their curry is sweeter than anything else! But that doesn’t mean the Land of Rising Sun doesn’t have any tricks up its sleeve — some of their ramen are known to be rather spicy, and Mouko Tanmen Nakamoto Ramen comes up on top. We don’t exactly know what goes into it, but their spiciest ramen, bright red in colour, probably involves plenty of different spices.
6. Indonesia – Sambal
While sambal can be found in other Southeast Asian countries as well, this condiment is an extremely common element in many Indonesian cuisines. This hot sauce has many variants around the country, with the more popular ones being sambal terasi and shrimp paste sambal. This meal staple can be made up of many different ingredients, depending on the type, such as sugar, fruits, and shallots. But of course, the main and most important ingredient would be ground or pureed chilies, from spicy-hot varieties such as cayenne or bird’s eye. Go forth but go easy, lest you end up feeling like your whole tongue’s on fire!
7. Malaysia – Curry Laksa
While not exclusive to Malaysia, Laksa can be found very easily in this country. This coconut soup-based noodle dish is spiced up with plenty of dried chillis, and if that’s not spicy enough for you, laksa is usually served with a side of sambal belacan for that added kick.