Fiery curries, somtam put Thailand ahead in global spicy cuisine contest
Unsurprisingly, Thailand topped the list of countries with the spiciest cuisine in the latest ranking published on the WorldAtlas website.
Spices have the power to make food tasty, savoury, aromatic and sweet, though the preference of spice varies from region to region, the page said.
“In the Middle and the Far East, spices are an integral part of the food culture, and food cannot be prepared or served without spicy ingredients," the page said.
Citing a study conducted by Harvard and China National Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, WorldAtlas said consuming spices at least once a day lowers the rate of mortality by up to 14 per cent.
"Spices like turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, and chillies also speed up metabolism," the page said. "Some spices such as turmeric possess anti-inflammatory properties and have been used for decades to treat conditions like nausea, arthritis, headaches, and autoimmune disorders."
Capsaicin, an active agent, found in chilli peppers is believed to slow down and even destroy cancerous cells, while cumin and turmeric have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that help fight against harmful bacteria, the page added.
WorldAtlas said there are several ways to circumvent spicy food at a Thai restaurant in Europe or North America, but it is a lot harder to find bland food in Thailand.
The Thai threshold for spicy is much higher than most countries, and what foreigners consider extremely spicy is usually just another flavour for the locals, the page said.
"Spices in Thailand range from curry, hot pepper and ginger," the page said. "Restaurants that serve spicy dishes have a competitive edge over other restaurants."
The top 10 countries with the spiciest food are:
5. Sri Lanka