For those who relish the mouth-numbing, sweat-inducing feeling that accompanies eating spicy food, you are not alone. Spicy flavors are noticeably trending amongst millennials, with ethnic restaurants finding growing interest in their spiciest dishes, and new restaurants jumping on to the chili craze. This trend is really no surprise. Along with the burning sensation that comes with spicy food is a serious release of endorphins – a hedonistic masochism in the truest sense. For the growing Sriracha-hoarding masses, a list of dishes to light your fire. —Crystal CoserRead More
15 Spicy Dishes to Help Sweat Out the LA Heat
1. Chili Crab at Starry Kitchen
Nguyen Tran has birthed a cult classic with his chili crab. Dungeness crab, bathed in a Pan-Asian exploration of a spicy Singaporean sauce, is paired with buttermilk beer beignets. Be sure to reserve the crab in advance, or be left pleading for a tantalizing sample of the sauce spooned over rice.
2. Smokey Spicy PCB at Plan Check Kitchen + Bar
Plan Check’s Smokey Spicy Burger special with Sriracha leather, habanero cheese, bacon, ketchup leather, and schmaltz onions is arguably one of the best burgers in the city. Paired with spicy chorizo chili cheese fries and a side of Sriracha pickles, you are sure to break one of the most deliciously satisfying of sweats.
3. Crying Tiger Beef at Jitlada
Jitlada’s famed dish is comprised of tender pieces of stir-fried meat served with its namesake sauce on the side. Be forewarned: this sauce builds in intensity the more it is consumed, and is served on the side as a compassionate precaution.
4. Bul Dak at Korean Chicken Place (닭굽는마을)
Los Angeles, CA 90005
While the Bul Dak, or Fire Chicken, at the thoughtfully named Korean Chicken Place is offered on a 1-9 spiciness scale, guests are highly advised not to surpass a 3. Served in a sizzling skillet with crispy rice and topped with melted cheese, this chicken causes swollen lips and sweaty brows.
5. Papaya Salad with Raw Crab at Ruen Pair
This refreshing, acidic salad of julienned green papaya gets a funky twist with dried shrimp and salty, deliciously gooey raw crab. Although a complex profile of salty, sweet, and vinegary flavors first hit the palate, heat quickly builds, adding a surprisingly spicy layer to the dish.
6. Chiles Toreados Taco at Guisados
This highly lauded taqueria celebrates chiles toreados, the beautifully charred mix of chiles that is often offered as a complimentary accouterment along with cilantro and radishes, in a manner unlike any other. Rather than treating them as a side dish, their serranos and habaneros are the main occasion, lovingly wrapped in corn tortillas for the fire-breathing masses.
7. Spicy Prawn with Lily Bulb and Almonds at Hakkasan
A more palatable option for those who prefer subtle, complex spices rather than acute heat, Hakkasan’s flash-fried prawns are served with a spicy curry sauce with modern Cantonese flair. Lily bulbs and almonds add textural diversity and a unique flavor pairing in Hakkasan’s chic Chinese setting.
8. La Diabla at Cook's Tortas
Even for serious heat lovers, Cook’s Tortas’ La Diabla is a capsicum-laden challenge. Chalk full of grilled chicken, jalapenos, chile de arbol, and habanero guacamole, be ready to burn off a few taste buds in the process of eating it
9. Lamb Vindaloo at India's Restaurant
This East Hollywood strip mall gem makes a wide variety of curries at varying heat levels, but the real star is the vindaloo, with tender chunks of lamb bathed in a deeply spiced curry sauce. It would be wise to pair this with a refreshing lassi to counter the conspicuous spice.
10. Nam Khao Tod at Night + Market
A common denominator amongst many of Night + Market’s authentic Thai offerings is a deft hand when it comes to chili. Chef Kris Yenbamroong’s northern Thai crispy rice salad, made with soured pork, raw ginger, and a generous portion of birds eye chilies is not for the gentle of palettes, and most certainly calls for a frosty Singha.
11. Currywurst at Berlin Currywurst
This traditional German snack of sliced sausage served with a choice of sauce is offered at aptly-named heat levels. Opt for the “Kiezgrösse,” or local hero, for those who like spice, but try the “Break the Wall” if you love it.
12. Spicy Pig Skin at Bul E Ya
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Specializing in extra spicy Korean dishes, Bul E Ya’s spice ranking system is not to be taken lightly. Their pig skin, flavored with onions and Korean chili paste, becomes a gloriously chewy vehicle through which one can enjoy their tear-inducing spice.
13. Pumpkin and Prosciutto Pizza at Lucifer's Pizza
Lucifer’s Pizza differentiates themselves from the rest by kicking up their sauce with varying levels of heat. Go for bold with their fiery sauce paired with their popular roasted pumpkin, prosciutto, garlic and basil topping.
14. Cumin Lamb at Yunnan Garden
San Gabriel, CA 91776
This Chinese restaurant offers both a deli-style line of cold dishes and seated dining options. Their Cumin lamb is doused in a Sichuan pepper-laden spice, giving diners a full mouth-numbing effect.
15. Spicy Fruit Bag at Fruit Stands Around Town
Los Angeles, CA 90005
The iconic rainbow umbrellas that dot the streets of Los Angeles mark one of the city’s finest local treasures: fruit cups seasoned with lemon and a hefty dose of chili. The spicy, acidic layer brought to offerings like watermelon, mango, and coconut is a true taste of the City of Angels, and is the ideal addition to one of its perfect summer days.