How Spicy Are These 6 Asian Cuisines?

How Spicy Are These 6 Asian Cuisines?

Chillies are widely used to add a kick of spice and flavour to dishes in cities across Asia. The brave souls who risk the heat of spicy food reap tremendous amounts of health benefits – these fiery peppers boost immunity, lower risk of diabetes and help with weight loss.

Eating my way through the local food culture of popular cities in Asia, I rated them according to how spicy they are on the scale of 1 to 5.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Dim Sum

Chilli Level 1

The bustling city has a plethora of local culinary offerings but it only gets a 1-chilli rating because most aren’t a spicy food experience – but this doesn’t make them any less delectable! Spicy or non spicy food lovers alike are sure to enjoy the traditional yum cha culture where dim sum is enjoyed with piping hot tea.

If you’re looking for some great company along with that dim sum, book a Social Dim Sum experience where you can enjoy an authentic dim sum breakfast with friendly locals who will share the art and history of yum cha.


Sushi in Japan

Emphasising a high quality of produce, recreating the flavors of excellent Japanese cuisine isn’t easy to achieve. The food typically has a clear and refined taste that does not go heavy on spices.

Japan might not be famous for spicy food, but go easy on the wasabi as it has the potential to be painful and brain-numbing if taken without restraint.


Korean Kimchi

Chilli Level 2The staple of Korean food is kimchi – a simple side dish made by fermenting red chilli pepper flakes with varieties of vegetables like napa cabbage or radish. The versatility of this humble dish is stunning as it has over 180 varieties.

Don’t underestimate the spiciness of kimchi, some varieties are made with ample amounts of chilli peppers and they are definitely within the spicy food category.

Get to call the shots on how spicy you want your kimchi to be by trying your hand at a kimchi making activity. The foundation to many traditional Korean dishes, explore the rich tradition of Korean food culture through kimchi.

Siem Reap

Fish Amok Cambodia

Chilli Level 3

The long fishing and agricultural history of Cambodia has been a crucial influence in the development of Khmer cuisine. Spices are used to elevate the fragrance of a dish rather than its spiciness.

Visitors are probably most familiar with the amok trey, where freshwater fish is wrapped in a banana leaf with condiments and steamed till it gets achieves a paste-like consistency.

Learn how to cook your own fish amok and other local favourites from a local chef by booking your spot on a Cambodian Cooking Class. If that’s not enough of Cambodian food for you, opt for the full-day course where you’ll learn how to make 6 authentic dishes!


Curry Fish Head SingaporeChilli Level 4Singaporean food is a blend of unique influences from the many ethnicities in the country. With its local Malay and Indian inspired dishes, there is no lack of spicy food to try out.

The fish head curry is a good example, the head of a red snapper fish is stewed in a South Indian-style curry and served with either rice or flatbread.

It can be difficult to choose between the vast amount of food that Singapore has to offer under a limited amount of time. The Sentosa Singaporean buffet allows you to sample a little bit of everything so you won’t miss checking off an item on your must-eat list.


Thailand Tom Yum

Chilli Level 5In a battle of spicy food, Thai cuisine would reign supreme (or at least put up a very tough fight!). The tom yum goong (seafood tom yum) packs a real punch with a generous amount of birds’ eye chillies that could make even the strongest of constitutions succumb to its fiery heat.

If you aren’t prepared for your eyes to water up, inform the waiter that you’ll prefer the dish to be ‘mai ped’ (less spicy).

Indulge yourself in a Thai food experience with a view of Bangkok at the Baiyoke Floating Market Buffet. The traditionally dressed waiting staff will guide you through the market where the traditional Thai cuisine will be cooked right in front of you.

Have you tried some spicy cuisine in Asia? Where did you find it and what ‘Chilli Rating’ would you give it?