5 of the world's spiciest foods

If you love a challenge, why not travel the world and see if you can handle its five spiciest dishes?

The spiciness or heat of a chilli is measured on the Scoville Scale. This indicates the amount of capsaicin present. To give you an idea of some peppers and their Scoville Units:
• Tabasco sauce: 3,500 - 8,000

• Aji Amarillo: 30,000-50,000

• Bird's eye chilli, Piri piri: 50,000-100,000

• Habanero, Scotch bonnet pepper: 100,000-350,000

• Bhut Jolokia: 855,000-1463,700

Phaal curry
Containing no less than 10 different varieties of pepper, this Southern Indian dish is a challenge for even the bravest of spice lovers.

As well as containing the habanero and Scotch bonnet, it has the fearsome Bhut Jolokiar - named the "Most potent pepper on earth" by the folks at Guinness World Records (check the Scoville Scale for a comparison!)

The dish also contains spices like ginger and fennel seeds, but chances are you won't taste them over the fire in your belly.

Neua Pad Prik (Thai Pepper Steak)
This incredibly popular stir-fry dish is unique to Central Thailand, and it's as spicy as it is simple. Just throw some beef into the pan and season with herbs like shallots, basil and garlic. Sounds pretty tame, right? Wait until you throw in a bunch of birds-eye chilli peppers. Now you'll see where this dish gets its reputation.

The birds-eye chilli is a small red pepper grown throughout Southeast Asia. Its bracing yet refreshing heat makes it a staple ingredient in kitchens around the country.

Although Asia is known for its spicy food, parts of the African cuisine have staked their claim on the spiciest foods' ladder.

Berbere is a chilli paste from Ethiopia, and is basically a blazing hot rub made from chilli peppers, garlic, ginger, cloves, fenugreek, allspice, rue berries, and ajwain. It is rubbed over chicken and beef to give traditional stews their spice and is guaranteed to blow your mind.

Jerk Chicken
If you’re eating Jamaican jerk chicken, you'll be enjoying the fresh, bright heat of a technique that is native to Jamaica, but used all over the Caribbean.

Meats are rubbed with a mixture of pimento, Scotch bonnet peppers, habanero, cayenne, jalapeño and other spices including cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme and garlic.

It's the Scotch bonnet that really brings the heat, however the charcoal over which the meat is cooked also gives this dish an incredible edge, with its taste of strong, earthy spices. 

Cau cau
When visiting Peru, you can thank the aji amarillo for blowing your socks off. Also known as the yellow chilli pepper, it's used in in many Peruvian dishes, from ceviche and salsa to causa rellena (traditional potato salad).

But this homegrown little devil is at its most potent in the cau cau stew. The Creole cau cau is made with tripe and potatoes, but you can get other versions of cau cau with seafood. But rest assured it will always come with the combination of chilli, turmeric and mint. You'll want to order a side of potatoes and rice to counterbalance the heat. And probably a beer while you're at it.

What is the spiciest food you've ever tried? Tell us about it below. Head to Facebook and Twitter to see what the rest of the Gecko's community is saying. You can also take part in competitions, giveaways and fun travel debates. 

If you're game to try your luck in some spicy destination, take advantage of our Spice Up September sale. Get up to 15% OFF India, Nepal and Asia tours.  Sale finishes September 30, 2011 so be quick!


Follow Peregrine Adventures