Spicy foods have a long history dating back to hunter-gatherer groups, and many cuisines around the world offer hot and spicy dishes. The heat of the various peppers used to spice up the country’s dishes is rated on the Scoville Heat Units scale, which measures capsaicin and other active components of peppers. One of the hottest peppers in the world is the Carolina Reaper, followed closely by the habanero, scotch bonnet, and bird pepper. While some diners prefer a mild chilli experience, for others there is no “too hot”.
Saurav Dutt, who is writing a book on the spiciest foods found on the Indian subcontinent, noted that hot spicy foods have been around longer than nations thought and every spicy ingredient can be traced in nature, including ginger. , horseradish, mustard and peppers.
“Spicy food, or at least spicy food, clearly predates the idea of countries and their cuisines by a long, long time,” says Indian author Saurav Dutt.
CNN Travel has compiled a list of 20 of the best spicy dishes to try, and features Jamaica’s popular Jerk Chicken/Pork dish on the list. The island nation’s favorite pepper is the Scotch Bonnet pepper, which is valued for its color, flavor and aroma, as well as its heat factor. According to Jamaican Mark Harvey, podcaster and content creator at Two on an Island, born in spanish city, people tend to increase their preferred heat level throughout their lives, with children starting out favoring medium-hot foods and moving over time to “purple-hot” foods. The color of peppers changes with their degree of spiciness: green peppers are the sweetest and the heat rises through orange, red and purple hues.
Several traditional and iconic Jamaican dishes feature the Scotch Bonnet Pepper, including pepper soup, curried goat and escovitch fish, but the most famous dish is jerk chicken or pork which can be found cooking in smoky glory along the roads of Montego Bay at Boston Bay in Jamaica. Jerk chicken or pork is prepared with a Scotch bonnet marinade over coals made from the wood of the chili pepper, which gives the authentic flavor of real Jamaican cuisine.
The other best hot and spicy dishes on CNN listing include Egusi Soup, Nigeria; Hotpot from Sichuan, China; Chicken piri-piri, Mozambique and Angola; Chairman Mao’s Braised Pork Belly, China; Ayam betutu, Indonesia; Buffalo Chicken Wings, USA; Shrimp aguachiles, Mexico; Pad ka prao, Thailand; Beef rendang, Indonesia and Malaysia; Dakdoritang, South Korea; Phaal Curry, Birmingham, England (via Bangladesh); Penne all’arrabbiata, Italy; Chicken Chettinad, India; Doro wat, Ethiopia; Mapo tofu, China; Vindaloo, India; Mafe, Senegal; and, Chile, United States.