Flaming lips: The spiciest Thai curries ever
Prik kee noo, Thailand’s champion chili, ranks 100,000 – 225,000 on the Scoville scale; a spice level of “Oh my god, it burns, it burns!” The tiny chilies will sneak up you, begging you to douse your fiery mouth with a cold drink and these curries are no exception.
That’s why we like to measure the spice level by how many beers it takes to relieve our flaming tongue.
Each dish here will require approximately one large bottle of Singha, or beer Singha kuad yai. Go ahead, shout it out now and order your next drink, because these are the hottest curries you’ll encounter on your island hopping travels.
Bring on the “beer Singha kuad yai!”
Kaeng Pu Bai Chaplu
Kaeng Pu Bai Chaplu, or crab curry with chaplu leaves, is made with a curry paste of turmeric and chilies, coconut cream, chaplu leaves and a big serving of fresh crab meat. Eat it with rice noodles to balance the flavor. It might start as a somewhat mild spice, but the heat in this dish will increase with each bite.
But that’s ok because you’ve already had an adrenaline rush and tried some classic island dishes, now it’s time to put the two together.
Which brings us to our next fiery dish. Even hotter than the average kaeng puu is what Bangkokians call Kaeng Lueang, or yellow curry. Down south find it under its local name kaeng som, sour curry. Southern style kaeng som is made with fish, sliced lotus root or bamboo, and a curry paste made from fresh chilies, garlic, turmeric and sour assam fruit or tamarind.
Kaeng Tai Pla
Moving up the spice scale is fish kidney curry. We’ll just call it by its Thai name Kaeng Tai Pla. This spicy southern staple is made with fish or prawns and vegetables in a broth made of chilies and fermented fish organs. The pungent, intense flavor is not for the faint of heart.
These curries are all native to Southern Thailand, so you’ll find them all over. You might have to break away from the beaten tourist path though, because not every visitor to Thailand can eat like a local. But, hey, if you’ve tried 60 chili som tum these dishes might go down pretty easy.
We guarantee an authentic fix to your spice craving at these three island restaurants:
Khao Hom, Koh Samui
Tu Kab Khao, Phuket
Nong View Restaurant, Koh Phangan
Read more Food articles:
Five must-try island food classics
Beachside snacks we can’t live without
The definitive guide to Thai seafood
Phuket Town: The weird wild world of Southern Thai cuisine
How to eat like a local on the Thai islands
Unexpectedly amazing non-Thai restaurants from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan