International Spicy Dishes that Bring the Heat
Updated: Apr 6
As the weather begins to turn cooler, there is something we can count on to keep us warm: spicy food. Whether it be dishes comprised of special sauce or just a dash of cayenne, the below meals bring the heat to balance our temperatures during these cooler months.
Som Tam - Thailand
Known as one of the most delicious dishes in the world, Som Tam, or spicy papaya salad, has a distinct flavor. The Thai staple consists of shredded green papaya, eggplant, beans, garlic, dried shrimp, crab paste, roasted peanuts and chili. It is one of the most commonly available and popularly consumed dishes in all of Thailand, and can be found at many restaurants and street market food stands, especially in Koh Samui.
Guests at The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui, can enjoy an immersive cultural and food experience with the property's Fisherman's Village excursion. Lined with old wooden houses and shops dotted with decorative red Chinese lanterns, Fisherman's Village comes alive Friday nights with a festive street market featuring locally-made apparel, souvenirs and food, especially dishes with a kick. Guests are invited to stroll through the open marketplace, enjoying the delightful waterfront eateries. The property also offers Baan Talat, their very own outdoor dining experience, available to all guests every Saturday night. Baan Talat, which means ‘market house’ in Thai, offers an array of authentic Thai street food dishes, including Som Tam.
Pescado a la talla - Mexico Pescado a la talla, or fish to the side, is the most well-known regional specialty from the Guerrero coast. A butterflied snapper is marinated in a spicy blend of traditional spices and chilies, and is typically served with tortillas and a variety of salsas, beans, and pickled vegetables to create a DIY taco situation.
After a long day of culinary adventures, travelers can relax at Villas Leo in Acapulco luxury. Villas Leo features 11 bedrooms, an infinity pool with view of Acapulco Bay, outdoor straw huts, and a large outdoor bar. Additionally, the property is fully staffed with a house manager, concierge, chef, barman, waitress, housekeeper, driver, and gated security. The property is available for rent through luxury property and travel club, THIRDHOME.
Known as Ecuador's secret sauce, aji is a cross between salsa and a condiment. Made from the fruit of the tree tomato, the hot sauce is spiced with aji pepper and is typically medium spicy - although a few varieties are very, very hot. Whether fresh in a bowl or in a bottle, aji can be found in most restaurants and establishments throughout the country.
Travelers to Ecuador looking to spice things up need look no further than Quasar Expeditions. Offering luxury cruises around the Galapagos and land-based tours in Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, the Amazon, and the Cloud Forest, Quasar has excursions that are perfect for foodies, incorporating meals at some of the finest establishments around. Whether it's sampling fresh, authentic ceviche, empanadas, humitas, or aji after a day of sightseeing in the city or trekking through the jungle, guests are in for a culinary delight during their time in Ecuador.
Curry – Africa
Curry refers to not just the spice, but a spiced meat, fish or vegetable stew. The dish traces back to as early as 2500 BCE in what is considered modern-day Pakistan and has evolved around the world ever since. Curry dishes in Africa tend to have a fiery, oily and robust red curry that is made with chicken, crab, fish or lamb. Curries are very much a part of South African cuisine and comes as close to a national dish as South Africa gets.
Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Fregate Island in the Seychelles offers visitors their take on curry with their Creole Curry Chicken, a popular island dish which can easily be made at home or enjoyed anywhere on the island. Guests can choose to dine on Fregate’s beaches or their highest mountain point before retiring to their one of 17 villas sprinkled throughout the nature-rich island.
In addition to Fregate Island, South African hotels Tswalu Kalahari, Ellerman House in Cape Town, and The Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa in Johannesburg all offer their own spin on curry dishes. Tswalu, South Africa’s largest private game reserve, preserves and protects the culture and wildlife of the Kalahari through research and conservation methods. Ellerman House is an iconic hotel located in Cape Town showcasing the best in South African culture through art, wine, and food. The Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa is a 5-star, all-suite hotel emulating the essence of the city and country with a property that is a unique blend of rich, cultural history with contemporary touches throughout.