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The Spice Scale of Thai Food Explained November 1, 2017

Manoa, Honolulu
The Spice Scale of Thai Food Explained, Honolulu, Hawaii

When ordering Thai food, many people wonder how spicy dishes can be. Typically, restaurants rate their dishes along a numbered scale to indicate how hot it is, as determined by how many chilies are used to prepare it. This scale can be hard to understand, so consult the following guide the next time you have a craving for authentic Asian cuisine.

Your Guide to the Thai Food Spice Scale

0–1, Mild

Restaurants usually number their spice scale from zero to five. If you want your food to have no spice at all, then opt for a zero. If, however, if you like only a little bit of heat, exercise caution. Different restaurants may interpret the numbers differently, so if you don’t like extreme levels of spice, be conservative and choose level one the first few times you eat there. This level is usually comfortable for Western diners.

2–3, Medium

Thai food Honolulu HIIf you want your Thai food to have a little more kick, then ask for a two or a three on the scale. This choice depends on how daring you are and how well you tolerate hot foods. A two is usually considered moderately spicy, while a three could easily jump to a level some people would find uncomfortable.

4–5, Hot

Finally, if you feel up to it, order your meal very hot and spicy—or even Thai Hot. A level four will most likely be incredibly spicy, perhaps even too spicy for most adults in this country. A level five is sometimes referred to as “Thai Hot,” a level of spiciness authentic to the food’s country of origin. If you want to know what it’s like to eat like a local, this is what you should order. But be warned—you may not be able to taste anything for the rest of the day.


When you're looking for the best Thai food in Honolulu, HI, turn to Bangkok Chef. With an expert chef hailing from Thailand’s capital, these professionals truly understand the authentic—and spicy—nature of this cuisine. They use fresh ingredients to create every delicious dish from scratch. To learn more about their spice scale and place a takeout order, call (808) 585-8839. You can also view their menu online.