The Spicy Food Bucket List
Love spicy food? If you’re ready to test your taste buds, check out the best culinary destinations for fiery food in the world, and their must try dishes. We’ve also handpicked the best places to stay after you’ve sampled as much spicy food as you can handle.
Known for its hot climate and even hotter food, Bangkok is a serious contender for the best culinary destinations in the world when it comes to turning up the heat. Famous for its street food, you can try some of Thailand’s signature dishes for less than a couple of dollars; the streets surrounding Bang Rak, Khao San and Chinatown offer up the best fare.
Whether you opt for Pad Thai, Som Tam or Tom Yum Gung, it’s worth learning these words: Maị̀ p̄hĕd, which means “not spicy”. Even if you like spicy food, Bangkok delivers spice on a whole other level – you’ve been warned!
Once your tongue is on fire, cool it all down with a delicious serving of sticky rice and fresh mango.
Riva Surya Bangkok: This peaceful getaway is pleasantly located on the Chao Phraya River, just walking distance from main tourist destinations including Khao San and its surrounding fiery food stalls. After a stay in one of the luxurious rooms, you can fuel your day with tasty local cuisine at the on-site Babble & Rum Restaurant overlooking the water. Wind down your culinary tour by escaping the heat at the beautifully landscaped pool.
Nouvo City Hotel: If you’re looking to stay in the thick of the action, then Nouvo City Hotel is the place for you. Just 5-minutes’ walk from Khao San, you won’t have to go far for a tantalising taste of spicy Thai food. Start your hot food adventure with a hearty breakfast and cool off at the dreamy rooftop pool.
Located in central Mexico, Oaxaca is the culinary heart of this gastronomic nation. Known for its intoxicating hot chocolate, unusual moles (a savoury chocolate dish) and tamales, you’ll be spoilt for choice as you wander the picturesque streets.
Be sure to visit the 20 de Noviembre Market with its hall dedicated to grilling meat. Select your favoured cuts and a plate of sizzling hot chillis for the vendor to cook fresh over the open fire. It’s a tasty cultural experience you won’t quickly forget.
Lovers of spicy food should try chapulines; coated in chilli, these protein-packed snacks are actually fried grasshoppers.
Hotel Parador de Alcalá: You’ll feel immediately at home in this elegant 18th century mansion-turned-boutique hotel, located in the historic centre of Oaxaca. Each of the 21 rooms has the perfect mix of spacious, old Mexican styling and modern comforts like free Wi-Fi and a fitness centre. The calming roof top terrace boasts splendid 360-degree views of the picturesque city.
The food in Chiang Mai differs from the rest of Thailand, with a stronger influence from nearby Burma and China. You’ll notice the presence of ginger and turmeric in the dishes and most meals are served with sticky rice, rather than steamed. Up the heat with the range of tasty nam prik, which are homemade chilli dips, served in most restaurants.
A great Chiang Mai classic to satisfy your chilli cravings is a Sai Ua sausage. Stuffed with intense flavours of kaffir lime, lemongrass and chilli and then deep fried, it’s a winning fusion of a Western staple and Thai spice.
The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai: A fairy-tale feeling pervades at the Dhara Dhevi, with its expansive grounds and elaborate decor. Along with luxurious rooms and two swimming pools, the property also boasts a spa and wellness centre and seven restaurants and bars. Start your culinary travels at the on-site Le Grand Lanna, serving up traditional northern Thai cuisine in raised wooden pavilions.
Star Hotel Chiang Mai: Located in the heart of Chiang Mai, the Star Hotel is walking distance from many of the city’s classic tourist attractions. With its cosy rooms and free Wi-Fi, it’s a comfortable place to retreat to after making your way through the tasty streets.
There’s plenty of Western fast food in Bali but avoid that tourist trap with these tips. Some of the most tempting Indonesian dishes are undoubtedly the many incarnations of satay skewers.
Experience the latest in local cuisine at Arang Sate Bar, where Chef Agung Nugroho is known for his contemporary twists on traditional favourites. A far cry from the peanut-soaked chicken satay that’s one of the region’s most popular dishes, the menu is filled with mouth watering dishes like lamb with blue cheese, shrimp with asparagus and pickled chilli or pork belly with sweet soy chilli sambal.
The fusion of flavours on offer are reflected in the restaurant’s décor too, with its unique blend of glass and steel together with traditional Balinese decoration.
Maya Ubud & Resort Spa: It’s hard not to feel zen from the moment you step into Maya Ubud & Resort Spa. Infinity pools stretch out into the expansive hinterland grounds and relaxing pagodas dot the grounds, the perfect place to rest your taste buds between flavourful adventures.
No trip to India would be complete with sampling some of the best curries the world has to offer. But India can be a daunting place even for the most adventurous foodie. If you’re just beginning to dip your toe into Indian cuisine in New Delhi a great place to start your culinary adventure is at the Metropolitan Hotel & Spa New Delhi. The excellent Indian food is paired with homemade rare fruit chutneys.
Beyond your hotel, New Delhi promises to seduce you with chaat (salad) and pakora fritters, not to mention it’s famous tandoori kebabs. Also from the tandoor comes a killer butter chicken that puts the Western versions you get back home to shame. Find out why butter chicken is one of New Delhi’s most famous exports.
Metropolitan Hotel & Spa, New Delhi: Conveniently close to all the sightseeing attractions, a stay at ‘THE MET’ means you’ll be able to walk home after what is guaranteed to be a day full of sensory overload and relax in the opulent surrounds of the complex. Beyond the comfortable rooms, the hotel offers an outdoor pool and day spa.
If international travel isn’t your thing then there’s no need to travel across oceans to experience great mouthwateringly delicious spicy food. Each year the Australian cities of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth host their very own Night Noodle Markets, which are drawing increasingly large crowds for the fun al fresco atmosphere and flavours from all over Asia.
Assured Waterside Apartments, Perth: If your noodle quest has brought you to Perth, it’s worth staying across the Swan River at the Assured Waterside Apartments in South Perth. Just a few minutes walk will bring you to Mends Street jetty, where you can catch a ferry into the heart of the city where the markets are held. The modern apartments are the perfect home away from home with full kitchens, laundries and outdoor spaces.
Bayview Eden, Melbourne: The Bayview Eden Hotel is just 10-minutes by tram to the centre of Melbourne, where the Melbourne Night Noodle Markets are held at Birrarung Marr Park. The interior offers the best of old and new, take in the ten-metre wide stained glass masterpiece in the lobby before heading up to your comfortable, modern room.
Swissotel Sydney, Sydney: A stone’s throw from Hyde Park, where the Night Noodle Market is held in Sydney each year, the Swissotel Sydney offers 5-star luxury in the centre of one of Australia’s most vibrant cities. Even if you can’t time your stay for the markets, Sydney’s deliciously spicy Chinatown is only a 10-minute walk away.