Recent episodes of “Bizarre Foods” on Travel Channel were all about spicy foods- from Korean cuisine in Seoul to Caribbean foods in the Bronx. It reminded me of one of our trips to China that covered Chengdu in Sichuan as well as Zhangjiajie in Hunan province. We made the mistake of asking for “local” food in Chengdu where every dish is filled with peppers. 4 out of 5 people in our group do not eat spicy foods. I later dubbed it my “China diet plan”. We learned by the time we reached Zhangjiajie NOT to ask for local cuisine which was a good thing, since people in Hunan call the Sichuan food “fake” hot. We asked the tour guide what he meant by that and he replied “Sichuan food stops burning after awhile because your taste buds are numb. That does not happen with Hunan peppers!”
It is all subjective!