If you want to impress (or punish) a particularly hardy group of attendees with a buffet they'll never forget, stock it with the foods outlined below -- some of the spiciest dishes found on earth -- and keep a fire extinguisher at the ready.
1. Sichuan Hot Pot, China
Restaurants in China's Sichuan province like to challenge diners by setting bubbling pots of a garlic and onion broth on the table, and then adding raw meat, vegetables and a sprinkling of the locally grown "flower pepper" to cook on the spot. Hint: They might call it the flower pepper because upon tasting it, your tulips go numb.
2. Frango Piri-Piri, Mozambique
You'll be dragged off to the smoking section after consuming this barbecued chicken dish, which gets its kick from a marinade using the red piri-piri pepper, aka "the African devil."
3. Vindaloo Pork, India
Legend has it that early Portuguese explorers brought a favorite food -- an already strong pork marinated in red wine, peppers and garlic -- to India, where enterprising chefs in the region of Goa gave it their own sizzling spin with liberal doses of Bhut Jolokia, cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's hottest chili pepper. Be sure to distribute asbestos bibs before serving.
4. Cau Cau Stew, Peru
What gives this dish -- a tangy mélange of tripe or seafood and potatoes -- its zing is the aji amarillo or yellow chili pepper. Although it's a Peruvian specialty, the taste will remind you of Italy, circa 79 A.D., when Mount Vesuvius blew its stack and obliterated Pompeii.
5. Neua Pad Prik, Thailand
Essentially a stir-fried pepper steak enlivened with basil, shallots and garlic, the key word here is pepper -- in this case, the potent Thai birds-eye chili. Have a crowbar handy for when your tongue becomes welded to your palate.
Source: Meetings & Conventions