January 16th

International Hot and Spicy Food Day -

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Fans of intense flavors mark their calendars for the global celebration of Hot and Spicy Food Day, which falls every January 16th. The day serves as a tribute to the world’s diverse and fiery spices, recognizing the thrilling zing they add to dishes.

It’s a wonderful celebration for those who enjoy that eye-watering, tongue-burning experience only spicy food can provide. So grab your chili peppers and favorite hot sauces, it’s time to bring the heat to this special day.

History of International Hot and Spicy Food Day

Around 6000 years ago, ancient people in Central and South America began cultivating chili peppers. These peppers eventually made their way to India through traders and explorers. From India, the spicy delicacies spread to other parts of Asia and Africa, influenced by the spice trade routes.

Peppers were highly praised in ancient civilizations, specifically the Aztecs and Mayans. They used them for medicinal purposes and even as a form of currency.

With the Age of Exploration in the 15th century, Christopher Columbus set off to find a quicker route to the East for spices, including black pepper. Instead, he discovered America and found chili peppers, which he incorrectly named as ‘pepper’ due to their hot flavor. He brought the chili peppers back to Europe where they were distributed across the world.

In terms of culinary culture, each region has developed its unique ways of incorporating spice into their diet. In Asia, particularly in countries like India, China, and Thailand, spicy food has been part of their culinary tradition for centuries. In India, for example, the use of various spices forms the backbone of its myriad regional cuisines.

The fascination with spicy food continues to evolve, with spicy food challenges, the hunt for the hottest pepper, and the incorporation of spice into a wider range of dishes.

International Hot and Spicy Food Day Timeline

Origin of Chili Peppers

Chilies were part of the diet in Central and South America since about 4000 BC.

Spice Trade

Documentation of early global spice trade routes across the Indian Ocean, leading to widespread use of spices in cuisine.

Spices in Medieval Europe

The use of hot spices becomes more common in medieval Europe due to the influence of the spice trade.

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus discovers America and brings back chili peppers to Europe, presenting them as a cheaper alternative to traditional spices.

Importation of Chili Peppers

Portuguese traders take chili peppers to India, also introducing them to Asia.

Appearance of Hot Sauces

The first commercial hot sauces appear in Massachusetts, USA.

Globalization of Spicy Food

Spicy cuisines from around the world, including Mexican, Indian, Thai and Szechuan, are globally popular.

Ideas to Celebrate International Hot and Spicy Food Day

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Spice tasting party

Call a few friends over, preparing an array of hot and spicy global dishes. It could be a fun evening with plates of Indian curries, Mexican chili, Thai Tom Yum soup and more. The challenge would see who manages the hottest plate before needing a milk rescue.

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Hot Sauce Making Workshop

Embrace the day by creating your very own unique hot sauce. Make use of different chilli peppers and work with various levels of heat intensity and blend of spices for a personalised touch. Share this delightful creation with your loved ones.

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Spicy Food Challenge

Plan or join in an exciting spicy food challenge. It’s a fun competition ranging from eating fiery wings to attempting the world’s spiciest pepper. Remember to take necessary precautions and keep it safe.

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Visit a Spicy Food Restaurant

Hunt for restaurants known for their spicy food offerings in your local area. Try their hottest menu item, or if you're feeling courageous, participate in any spicy food contests they might have.

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Educational Session on Spices

Spend the day delving into the various health benefits and unique uses of hot and spicy food ingredients. It's not just about burning taste buds but also discovering the heritage of distinct spices and their cultivation techniques.

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Cocktail Mixing with Spices

Add a twist to your classic cocktail night by introducing spices into your drinks. A chili-infused tequila or a hot pepper vodka might just be the excitement your friends need to taste.

6 Interesting Facts About Hot and Spicy Food


Natural Pain Relievers

Eating spicy foods is known to instigate the release of endorphins, the body's natural components for combatting pain and stress. This is why some individuals experience a sense of exhilaration after enjoying a particularly spicy meal.


Boost to Metabolism

According to several studies, hot peppers can enhance metabolism rates by escalating your body's heat factor. This could assist in controlling body weight.


Insect Repellents

Plants utilize capsaicin- a compound which contributes to the spiciness of food - as a tool for discouraging insects and smaller creatures.


Risk of Ulcers Misconception

Eating spicy food is not a cause of stomach ulcers, contrary to popular opinion. In fact, it could actually assist in eliminating the bacteria potentially responsible for ulcer formation.


Spice Level Measurement

A method called the Scoville scale, established by the chemist Wilbur Scoville in 1912, is employed to evaluate the heat intensity of a pepper.


Milk Over Water

Milk is a more suitable choice than water to soothe your mouth following a spicy meal due to the presence of casein, which acts to neutralise the spicy oils of capsaicin. Water merely dislocates the oil.

International Hot and Spicy Food Day FAQs

Next International Hot and Spicy Food Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 January 16th Monday
2024 January 16th Tuesday
2025 January 16th Thursday
2026 January 16th Friday
2027 January 16th Saturday
What is the pattern? Every January 16th

International Hot and Spicy Food Day Word Search

  • Spicy
  • Jalapeno
  • Tabasco
  • Paprika
  • Pepper
  • Chillies