1Hottest Chili Pepper: Trinidad Moruga Scorpion
For the hottest chili peppers in the world, you have to visit the Caribbean. That's Ground Zero for all of the world's hottest peppers. Growing hot chili peppers has been an art in Trinidad for centuries. In 1912, a gentleman by the name of Wilbur Scoville developed the Scoville scale, a unit of measurement specifically designed to test the hotness of chili peppers; the spicy feeling comes from a chemical called capsaicin. In 2007, Guinness crowned the Naga Bhut Jolokia, aka the Ghost Pepper, as the world's hottest pepper at 1,000,000 Scoville Units. But ever since then, there has been a race to create even hotter peppers. Currently, the record holder is the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper at over 2,000,000 SHUs (The original Tabasco sauce is about 5,000). What does that feel like? Watch what happens when a cutie eats one.
2Most Expensive Spice: Saffron
What the heck is Saffron and why is it so damn expensive? Well, first of all it's a very colorful and flavorful spice made from the reproductive organs of a flower known as crocus sativus. It's the spice that turns many foods yellow, including Spanish paella. Saffron “threads” are made from these stigmas and each plant only contains about 12; it takes about 75,000 threads to create one pound of Saffron. Some of the best varieties have been known to sell for $15 a gram - as much as top-shelf marijuana.
3Most Expensive Pizza: Louis XIII at $12,000
4Most Dangerous Food: Fugu
We all want to have a “killer” meal, but this is pushing it. The deadly pufferfish fugu (“river pig” in Japanese) contains delicious meat, but also deadly tetrodotoxin. Therefore, sales of fugu are strictly regulated in Japan and the US, and banned outright in Europe. Chefs that prepare the dish have to go through rigorous training, and the liver, considered the deadliest (and most delicious) part, has been banned in Japan since 1984.
5Most Hot Dogs Ever Eaten: Kobayashi or Chestnut?
We've got trouble, right here in Coney Island. Takeru Kobayashi, the flamboyant Japanese hot-dog eater, technically holds the record for the most hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes with 110. That beats rival gobbler Joey Chestnut, who has won the official Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest every year since 2009 and whose best recorded score is 69. The problem is that Kobayashi has been banned from the iconic eating event because of a dispute with Major League Eating (I'm not kidding), who are the arbitrators for such events; in 2010 a furious Kobayashi attempted to storm the Nathan's stage. Kobayashi is desperate for a rematch in a sanctioned event to prove his superiority. In spite of the offer, Chestnut has yet to, um, bite.
6Smelliest Fruit: The Durian
Love it or hate it, you have to admit that it's pungent. The Durian, with its spiny outer shell, has tender, juicy innards that some call a delicacy. However, most people just think it smells like fetid puke. In fact, it's even worse; according to the video below, the smell of the Durian is 3 times worse than rotten eggs, smelly shoe with dog sh*t, and puke COMBINED. Watch:
7Rarest Food: Bird's Nest Soup
Bird's nests have been eaten as food in China for over a thousand years, and bird's nest soup is a favorite delicacy. The nest of choice is built by the Southeast Asian Swiftlet, which creates its tiny nest out of saliva. You read it right, bird's nest soup should be called bird's spit soup, but I guess it doesn't have the same “ring” to it. Because of the dangerous nature of harvesting the nests (the swiftlets build them in hard-to-reach coastal caves), the soup can cost from $30-$100, and a kilogram of the nest can reach $10,000.
8World's “Oldest” Hamburger from 1999
The world's oldest recipe or the world's oldest food - that's hard to pinpoint. as that is somewhat contentious. The world's oldest hamburger? That's easy. This burger was bought in 1999 by David Whipple, a Utah resident, and it still exists today, looking like it just came off the rack. He says he purchased and kept the burger to show his friends how “preservatives and enzymes worked in keeping junk food looking good.” Um, yum?
9Most Expensive Ingredient: White Truffle
There are truffles, and then there is the White Truffle, its most elusive and expensive cousin. It's only grown in a small area around the Piedmont region of Italy during a short gestation period, which is getting shorter every year due to climate change. The White Truffle is a mushroom that cannot be grown in greenhouses or replicated genetically. It can only be dug up by pigs or dogs. Its scarcity has driven up the price. In 2009, the White Truffle pictured above sold for $150,000.