Something common you can find amongst most Asians is their love of spice. To me, a meal would always be better with a spicy kick to it.
The question, however, is how hot would people be willing to go? I went around Singapore to try 8 spiciest food items so that you wouldn’t have to.
People enjoy spicy food as the pain caused by these dishes stimulate the fight-or-flight response. It also increases your metabolism, and opens up your appetite, making you want to eat more.
I measure the spiciness of a dish with these four criteria:
- How hot did my stomach feel during and after the meal?
- Did I start sweating from the heat?
- How many bites could I handle?
- Were there any side effects after my meal?
Starting from spicy to the spiciest, I began my fiery adventure.
8. Red King Level 15 (Ramen Nagi)
Ramen Nagi is one of Japan’s most popular chain ramen restaurants, and they have expanded to 22 outlets in Japan, with 28 other outlets worldwide. Diners can customise their bowl of ramen, including the richness of their soup, spiciness level, firmness of the noodles, amount of garlic, and the type of meat.
I ordered their Red King (S$15.90) with Spice Level 15, which isn’t on the usual menu. On the menu, diners can choose up to Spice Level 12 for their ramen. If you are feeling adventurous like me, you can ask for something spicier.
Despite ordering the Spice Level 15 ramen, I was quite disappointed as it was only slightly spicy. My stomach didn’t feel hot, nor did it leave any after-effects for me to suffer through.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the ramen a lot as underneath the heat of the dish, I could taste the umami flavour from the broth.
7. Boneless Atomic Wings (Wing Stop)
When I think about spicy food, I usually think about hot wings, so I couldn’t possibly miss out what Americans think are the hottest wings in their country.
Wing Stop is an American restaurant chain serving up Buffalo chicken wings, where many have tried to conquer the Atomic Wings.
I have previously tried their Boneless Atomic Wings (S$7.95/6pcs) when I was younger and it gave me a hot tummy for the rest of the night until the next day. Trying these wings now, it was nothing like what I remembered.
I could only feel a slight hint of spiciness, which was overpowered by the sour and garlicky sauce coating the wings. I felt a slight fire in my stomach after wiping my plate clean, but that was quickly extinguished with a sip of water. It was definitely not the spiciest hot wings I’ve had.
6. Level 49 Tom Yum Pasta (49 Seats)
Serving up a combination of Italian noodles and Asian sauces, 49 Seats is a fusion restaurant that shot to fame because of their Tom Yum Seafood Pasta (S$14.90).
Diners can customise the level of spiciness for this dish, so I tried their tom yum pasta at level 49, which is the spiciest it could go.
The tom yum sauce itself was already spicy, however, the addition of chilli padis (also known as Bird’s Eye Chilli) increased the spiciness. This Level 49 Tom Yum Seafood Pasta had five additional tablespoons of chilli padi, compared to their usual one.
Initially, all I could taste was the creamy tom yum sauce that the dish came in. However, as the seconds ticked by, the spiciness from the chilli seeds started to spread throughout my mouth.
After finishing this dish, my stomach was left burning for the rest of the night, and the next day’s trip to the toilet hurt a little.
49 Seats: 176 Orchard Road, The Centrepoint, #01-49, Singapore 238843 | Tel: +65 6225 4332 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.30am (Mon-Thurs), 11.30am – 5am (Fri – Sat), 11.30am – 11pm (Sun) | Website | Facebook | Instagram
5. Level 5 Vegetable Curry Rice (CoCo ICHIBANYA)
CoCo ICHIBANYA is a restaurant chain with over 1,400 outlets around the world, and they specialise in customisable Japanese-style curry rice. Diners can modify the rice portions, spice levels and toppings to their liking.
Usually, Japanese-style curry has a slight sweetness that neutralises the spicy notes of the dish, hence I was a little sceptical that it might not be as spicy as it sounds.
I modified the spiciness of my Vegetable Curry Rice with Sausages (S$12.90) to the highest level (Level 5). On the first bite, I couldn’t really taste how spicy it was. However, the spiciness gradually built up, and it hit peak spiciness after five bites.
Despite the spiciness, I was still able to power through with the aid of some yoghurt. The yoghurt didn’t really help to quench the fire I felt in my stomach afterwards, which lasted a good few hours.
4. Level 10 Tom Yam Egg Noodles (Thai-licious Boat Noodles)
It can be difficult to find authentic Thai boat noodles in Singapore. Thai-licious Boat Noodles is a small Thai concept which doesn’t just serve the usual beef and pork broth noodles, but it also offers one of the spiciest noodles dishes in Singapore.
You’d normally associate spicy dishes with a bright red hue, but Thai-licious’ Level 10 Tom Yam Egg Noodles (S$7.50++) came with a harmless black sauce.
This taught me to not judge the book by its cover, because the Level 10 Tom Yam Egg Noodles was so spicy that it left me with a burning hot stomach, and beads of sweat running down my face. After a few more bites, I was defeated by it and could not finish this burning dish, however, it did not leave any long-lasting side effects.
3. Hot Devil Wings (Birdfolks)
More fried chicken? Yes, please! Birdfolks serves a range of American-inspired fried chicken that has been seasoned with a range of Asian spices. And recently launched their new menu, which has one of the spiciest food items in Singapore.
Their Hot Devil Wings (S$12.90/6pcs, S$24.90/12pcs) was coated with a batter mixed with a special blend of white chilli. Even though the wings looked innocent with the golden crispy coat of batter, it was way hotter than I thought it would be.
It was so spicy that my stomach immediately started to burn, and droplets of sweat formed. Even the air conditioning couldn’t cool me down!
I only managed to finish one wing and I couldn’t continue on anymore. The fiery feeling of the spice stayed within my stomach until the next morning, and I had to make multiple trips to the toilet for the rest of the day.
2. Level 6 Chicken Tikka Masala (Lagnaa)
Lagnaa is a cosy bistro which encourages diners to get comfortable by taking their shoes off while enjoying their Indian cuisine. It is also home to one of the spiciest curries in Singapore.
Their spiciest curry goes up to Level 10, but no one has ever attempted such a feat. Diners need to first pass their Level 6 curry before they can get invited to attempt a higher level the following month.
Not having any faith in myself when it comes to spicy food, I declined the offer to try the challenge. Instead, I ordered their Level 6 Chicken Tikka Masala (S$17) with a Plain Naan (S$3). After my first mouthful, I understood why hardly anybody could get to Level 10.
Once the curry touched my tongue, it felt like it was on fire! I could only consume two bites and I had to cheat by using the naan to neutralise the spice.
This curry left my stomach very hot and since the restaurant did not have any air conditioning, the heat spread throughout my body and made me a sweaty mess. After I finished the naan, I was unable to continue with the curry and gave up halfway through.
My stomach churned throughout the night, and let’s just say that the next morning was equally painful.
1. Spaghetti From Hell (Southwest Tavern)
Yeehaw! Southwest Tavern is a cowboy-themed restaurant which serves beer, steak and the spiciest food items in Singapore. You might think that this is an exaggeration but I promise you, it’s not.
Southwest Tavern is known for their Spaghetti from Hell (S$28), which comes in three different stages: Hell’s Gateway, Halfway There, and Level 18. The last stage is the spiciest spaghetti and has actually sent eight people to the hospital upon the first few bites.
Surprisingly, there’s been a few daredevils who managed to beat this spicy challenge. How spicy could this spaghetti be, anyway?
Upon my first mouthful, I was close to tears. The spiciness lingered in every part of my body it travelled through. That one bite was so hot that it left me feeling faint for the next 15 minutes!
I was unable to continue after that one mouthful. Even then, it left me with a massive stomachache for the rest of the night. I also spent the next day getting well-acquainted with my toilet bowl.
If you are undaunted by my torturous experiences, you can try out these spiciest food items for yourself.
Don’t forget to bring some yoghurt along, because water, ice cream and milk does not help at all. A piece of advice: try not to rub your face or eyes if you’ve previously touched something spicy. If you do, you’ll definitely feel the burn.