The World's Spiciest Dishes Worth the Heartburn

Different cultures have found ways to combine incredibly hot spices with intensely flavorful dishes that make them worth the burn.
03/20/2014 01:47 pm ET Updated May 20, 2014

Most people love spicy food -- whether it's a mildly spicy zing on your buffalo wings or the full-on blistering burn that makes you sweat and cry in equal measures. Across the world different cultures have found ways to combine incredibly hot spices with intensely flavorful dishes that make them worth the burn.

Lonely Planet's "The World's Best Spicy Food: Where to Find It & How to Make It" says that chili is about more than just the heat it infuses into a dish, it's also about the myriad of flavors and textures, and warm feeling it leaves behind afterwards. So The Daily Meal looked at several of the world's spiciest offerings to see which ones came up to scratch and were worth a try... even if they singed your digestive tract a little on the way down!

Some of the dishes on our list will literally make you sweat, but they are also so jam-packed with flavor that it's completely worth it. All these dishes are infused with the flavors of the culture that created them. Jamaican curried goat, for example, embodies the taste of the Caribbean -- it's a tender, slow-cooked goat stew made with curry powder and other spices, a reminder of the large Indian population that used to live on the island and influenced its national dishes. What makes this dish extra hot are the fiery Scotch bonnet peppers, a favorite among the Caribbean cultures that has a range of 150,000 to 325,000 Scoville heat units... that's more than 10 times hotter than a jalapeᅢᄆo pepper! Locals ease the burn by adding coconut milk, but keep coming back for more no matter how much it makes their eyes water.

And even closer to home, nothing says backyard barbeque like a plate of good, old-fashioned hot wings. The heat often depends on the type of hot sauce it's marinated in ranging from just a mild tingle to a full-on roast for those with more adventurous taste pallets. Competition is actually so stiff to sample these painfully-fiery treats that there're dozens of competitions here in the U.S. to find the spiciest plate in the country... many require you to sign a waiver before your compete.

So, even though most of these dishes will move you to tears, heartburn, and considerable eye-watering challenge yourself to give them all a try anyway. You'll be glad you did -- even if just for the bragging rights! Click through our slideshow to see the world's spiciest foods worth the heartburn.

spiciest foods

-- Serusha Govender, The Daily Meal

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