Despite the importance of chili peppers to many Asian cuisines, they are actually native to the Americas and were only later introduced to Asia through trade.

Chili pepper

The spread of chili peppers to Asia occurred through its introduction by Portuguese traders, who – aware of its trade value and resemblance to the spiciness of black pepper – promoted its commerce in the Asian spice trade routes. It was introduced in India by the Portuguese towards the end of the 15th century. In 21st century Asian cuisine, chili peppers are commonly used across diverse regions.

Production

Green chili production – 2016

Region

(millions of tons)

China

17.4

Mexico

2.7

Turkey

2.5

European Union

2.3

Indonesia

2.0

Spain

1.1

United States

0.9

World

34.5

Source: FAOSTAT of the United Nations

In 2016, 34.5 million tonnes of green chili pepp… Continue Reading (11 minute read)

7 thoughts on “Despite the importance of chili peppers to many Asian cuisines, they are actually native to the Americas and were only later introduced to Asia through trade.”

  1. bobguy151989

    Same as tomatoes and Italian, potatoes and Ireland, and peanuts in SE Asia

  2. Ylaaly

    What did they use to make their food hot before they got their hands on chili? Or did hot food only gain popularity in the region when chili was introduced?

  3. flex_complex

    I think I’ve read this in Yuval Harari’s a Brief History of Humankind. Something around the lines of how the world doesn’t have any truly local dishes or something related to trading

  4. hops4beer

    food history is super interesting.

  5. mustXdestroy

    It tripped me out when someone told me that Japanese food traditionally has basically no spice whatsoever

  6. clervis

    Cilantro is native to western Asia, but it’s huge in native American cuisines.

  7. Embrasse-moi

    I went into the rabbit hole on food origins and it is incredibly fascinating. Rice was cultivated in China and is now a staple ingredient in Latin American cuisine, and also in the Caribbean and many African cuisines. Citrus fruits(oranges, lemons, pomelos, bergamots, calamansi, etc.) originated in southeast Asia and now used all over the world, some being cross pollinated with locally grown citrus fruits and made a new “fruit” like clementines and grapefruits. Cassava originated in Brazil and is a common ingredient and many African cuisines and also in Filipino cuisine(mainly desserts). Black-eyed peas is a staple Southern American(US) cuisine and that originated in Asia. It just goes on lol.

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