International Hot and Spicy Food Day - January 16
(Last Updated On: May 4, 2022)


Each year on January 16th, International Hot and Spicy Food Day celebrates all the delicious hot and spicy foods around the world.

Most people know that chili peppers are one of the hottest foods on the planet. But did you know that the hottest chili pepper in the world is always changing? This is because chili peppers are constantly evolving. But how is the hottest chili pepper determined? Chili peppers contain capsaicinoid. This is the active compound in chili pepper that’s responsible for its spicy sensation. Capsaicinoids are measured by the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU).

Recently, the Carolina Reaper was named hottest chili pepper. This super spicy chili pepper has an SHU of 2,200,000. This is 200 times hotter than a jalapeno pepper! Can you imagine popping a Carolina Reaper into your mouth? If that’s way too hot, here are some other chili peppers that are a little less spicy:

  • Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (2,009,231 SHU)
  • 7 Pot Douglah (1,853,936 SHU)
  • Naga Viper (1,349,000 SHU)
  • Ghost Pepper (1,041,427 SHU)
  • Red Savina Habanero (500,000 SHU)

By comparison, the SHU of a jalapeno pepper is only between 2,500 and 8,000. Besides chili peppers, some other hot and spicy foods around the world include vindaloo, jerk chicken, Sichuan hot pot, and griot. Hot and spicy foods come from countries all around the world. There are some countries, however, that are famous for spicy foods. These countries include Thailand, Mexico, Malaysia, Korea, Jamaica, Indian, and China.

No matter what kind of spicy food you eat, be sure to have a glass of milk or a container of cold yogurt handy. Dairy products like milk and yogurt ease the fiery feeling in your mouth. Whatever you do, don’t drink water, as this can actually make it worse. If you live where it’s cold outside, eating hot and spicy foods is a great way to warm up.

HOW TO OBSERVE #InternationalHotAndSpicyFoodDay

Many restaurants offer specials on their hottest and spiciest dishes. Other events include habanero-eating challenges, costume contests, and cook-offs. To participate:

  • Try a spicy dish that you have never eaten before
  • Dine at a Thai, Korean, or Indian restaurant where they service spicy food
  • Learn about the different kinds of chili peppers
  • Make a recipe with a spice you’ve never used before
  • Host a chili cook-off with your friends or co-workers

Don’t forget to share a picture of your favorite spicy food on social media with #InternationalHotAndSpicyFoodDay.


National Day Calendar was unable to identify the founder of this hot and spicy food observance.


Join the

Stay up to date on upcoming national days and Celebrate Every Day!

National Day Radio