It's International Hot and Spicy Food Day on 16 January - a time to challenge the resilience of your taste buds!
It's also a nice prompt for exploring places to eat in Perth serving wonderful international cuisine.
One of the original hot tastes comes from chilli peppers, which humans have been using to spice up food for thousands of years. The fiery plant, which forms the basis of hot sauce, was first cultivated in Mexico, its popularity as a food spice spreading across the world from there. One of the most well known chilli peppers here in Perth is the jalapeño, but there are peppers that are around 300 times hotter!
While it's true that very spicy food makes you sweat a little, it's also good for you because it kills bacteria. That addictive burn as the chilli goes down can feel cleansing and seems to ease head cold symptoms. Finish off with a spiced rum and you'll feel like a new person tomorrow!
You don't have to go for the burn either. Beautifully balanced aromatic spices produce some of the tastiest dishes, whether hot, medium or mild. So International Hot and Spicy Food Day is for everyone to just push their boundaries a little bit. If you've shied away from spicy food, try a mild dish, and those hardened hot sauce extremists can challenge one another to find and eat the spiciest dish in town.
Among the world's spiciest cuisines are Indian, Thai, Chinese and Mexican - all created in abundance around Perth. Here are 10 spicy places to eat in Perth for you to try this New Year.
Two Fat Indians, Mount Lawley
Vegetarians looking for places to eat in Perth on Hot and Spicy Food Day can't go wrong with Indian cuisine. Two Fat Indians on Mount Lawley's cafe strip specialises in authentic fine dining, promising the best cuisine from various regions of India.
The extensive menu lists all your favourite spicy food, plus one or two dishes you might not have come across before. Try Laal Maas, a spicy lamb recipe from Rajasthan; Chole Bhatura, a Delhi chickpea curry with fried bhatura bread; Amritsari Machi Pakora, snapper coated with spices and Kashmiri chilli; or Dum Pukth, a traditional method from Hyderabad for slow cooked spicy chicken.
Allow time to sample a cocktail or two at this stylish restaurant before settling in for a delicious banquet.
Saroor, South Fremantle
Saroor serves Indian street food a short stroll from the South Fremantle beaches, drawing on both traditional recipes and a more modern approach in a relaxed environment. This is where you can taste a true variety of spicy Indian food, including tapas style starters like the delicious samosa chat and chowk ki tikki potato patties.
Familiar flavours are here too, in a great selection of vegetarian dishes, as well as widely popular meat options like the mildly spiced butter chicken and very hot beef vindaloo.
The warm friendly atmosphere makes this spot appealing to couples, friends and families alike, and children aren't forgotten on the menu with tasty bites like honey chicken popcorn. Spice lovers can ask for extra chilli on the side - a must for Hot and Spicy Food Day!
Fire & Spice, South Perth
On Mill Point Road is one of the best places to eat in South Perth, within an easy stroll of the fabulous Swan River foreshore. Fire & Spice is a Nepalese / Indian fusion diner, combining the cuisine of the Himalayas with the flavours of India.
You will recognise most dishes as being of Indian origin, except for the momos, a traditional Nepalese recipe for steamed dumplings with various fillings. The menu changes regularly and includes signature curries as well as vindaloo of any kind. After getting your fill of spicy food, walk it off along the riverside and enjoy the views across to the city skyline.
Dusit Dheva, Northbridge
Dusit Dheva creates Thai dishes from fresh, seasonal produce, including a special vegan set menu. This could be the only place to eat in Perth that has been blessed in a ceremony with monks from WA's Bodhimyana Forest Monastery. It's also headed up by an award-winning Thai chef with street-smart culinary experience from his homeland, followed by training and experience in WA.
This all adds up to an authentic experience and delicious spicy food! Most dishes are on the hot side, making this a top destination on Hot and Spicy Food Day. The mouth-watering menu offers canapés as well as entrées, mild to hot curry sauces and meat dishes with various traditional flavours such as chilli, lime and tamarind sauce, light stir-fry dishes and tasty vegetarian options.
Long Chim, Perth
Gather a bunch of friends or family for spicy Thai food, banquet style, by choosing a selection of tastes from the menu at Long Chim. This stylish basement venue adds casual social dining to the variety of places to eat in Perth's State Buildings on St Georges Terrace.
Famous for its authentic spiciness, Long Chim's Thai street food includes dishes to zing your taste buds, such as spicy pork with chilli and lime, aromatic vegetable curry, hot and sour snapper soup, and duck egg omelette with sriracha (hot) sauce. Fresh WA seafood is cooked to perfection on the grill, and you can add hot sauce to anything. This atmospheric restaurant is definitely one for your Hot and Spicy Food Day wish list.
Arirang Korean Barbecue, Perth
Just up the road from Long Chim is Arirang, which has been serving traditional and modern fusion Korean cuisine in Perth for 20 years. To get a taste of spicy Korean food, try the yukgaejang beef soup, buldak spicy barbecued chicken served here with melted cheese, kimchi (spicy veggies), and bibimbap, a rice dish traditionally served with gochujang, also called kochujang (red chilli paste). The barbecue sets are a great option for two people to try a range of flavours.
Chilli Panda, Northbridge
Hunan and Sichuan dishes are known for being amongst the most spicy food in China, so these are the cuisines to look for among Chinese places to eat in Perth.
Chilli Panda's name tells you what you need to know. This Hunan restaurant has chilli all over the menu, so expect more hot 'n' spicy than sweet 'n' sour here - a stylish dining experience with heat!
Authentic Chinese cuisine doesn't shy away from using as much of an animal as possible, giving carnivores the chance to sample chitterlings (pigs' intestines), pork tripe (stomach lining) and chicken gizzards (part of the digestive tract) - definitely not a top choice for vegans, but a less wasteful way to serve meat.
Szechwan Zen, Northbridge
Another Northbridge gem is Szechwan Zen. No prizes for guessing that this eatery specialises in aromatic and spicy Sichuan food, also known for using lots of chilli and meat. The bravest among you might want to rise to the challenge of dishes with extra hot sauces and dry spices, while those with a sensitive palate can choose from a 'non-chilli' selection.
Szechwan Zen and Chilli Panda are both great places to eat in Perth's vibrant Northbridge scene, a few blocks from Perth Cultural Centre on the James Street cafe / bar strip. So gather a spice-loving group and make a night of it!
Piggy Food Co, North Fremantle
Piggy is one of those unique places to eat that Perth sees pop up from time to time, offering a twist on international cuisine, adapted beautifully to local tastes. Born of an ambition to offer the best pairing of Mexican / Californian cuisine with local craft beers, Piggy hits the mark with a simple and satisfying menu.
The beauty of this casual eatery is the chance to go gently on the spice until you're ready to heat things up. The spicy food comes with plenty of sour cream, and of course there's craft beer to put out the fire! If you're still in need of cooling down, round off your meal with a mouth-watering ice cream sandwich.
Also catering to changing expectations among local diners, you can be sure your meat is free range, your seafood is caught in WA and your fresh produce is grown locally.
La Vida Urbana, Leederville
Expect lots of jalapeño, both fresh and smoke-dried (chipotle), with Mexican food that's loyal to its origins.
Incorporating both local and organic produce, La Vida Urbana brings authentic modern Mexican cuisine to Perth, accompanied by traditional tequila and mezcal. Sister to the wonderful El Publico in Highgate, this casual diner serves up fantastic and familiar spicy food like nachos, chilli popcorn, guacamole, chicken tacos and a Mexican favourite, tampiqueña.
You'll also want to try the street corn with queso (cheese) and guajillo (chilli), or chicken with mole (Mexican curry paste) and rice. Why not start your Hot and Spicy Food Day right with La Vida's brunch menu? Who can resist pancakes with ice cream, maple syrup and chilli butter?
And the List Goes on...
The list of places to eat spicy food in Perth could go on forever. Here are some more jewels to add to your list for future reference:
Mother India, Fremantle - home-made Indian food
Chutney Mary's, Subiaco - modern Indian cuisine
Annalakshmi, Perth - mildly spiced authentic Indian all-you-can-eat
Copper Chimney, South Fremantle - quality traditional Indian food
Six Senses, Subiaco - gourmet Thai cuisine
El Publico, Highgate - classic Mexican cuisine
Kung Fu Kitchen, Northbridge - Sichuan restaurant famous for its hotpot
Silks, Crown Perth, Burswood - quality Chinese on the milder side