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Spicy Eggplant Dip at Spicy BBQ Restaurant.
Spicy eggplant dip at Spicy BBQ Restaurant in East Hollywood.
Cathy Chaplin

17 Irresistibly Spicy Dishes in Los Angeles

Where to go and what to order to light your mouths ablaze

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Spicy eggplant dip at Spicy BBQ Restaurant in East Hollywood.
| Cathy Chaplin

There’s an art to making irresistibly spicy food — a skillful layering of flavors that coaxes the very best from chiles and spices. This careful balance of heat enhances every ingredient surrounding it without ever dominating the plate or overwhelming the palate. From Sichuan-style fried chicken to a one-of-a-kind Thai-American hamburger and Korean rice cakes, here now are the 17 spiciest dishes in Los Angeles.

Restaurants are located in geographic order, from north to south. In mid-November, LA County officials mandated the closure of outdoor dining; restaurants on this list continue to offer takeout and/or delivery only. Please check the Los Angeles Public Health website for the latest guidance on visiting restaurants.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Deviled beef at Apey Kade Restaurant

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Tarzana’s Apey Kade is a Sri Lankan star, the kind of well-reviewed LA restaurant that provides comfort food for those seeking the flavors of home, and offers a burst of new flavors to those trying Sri Lankan food for the very first time. For a particular pop, try the deviled beef laced with both dried and fresh chiles, plus curry leaves and a bracing hit of lime.

Ringburner at Lucifers Pizza

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As the name implies, Lucifers loves to make a spicy pizza. But real heat-seekers know to ask for the inelegantly named Ringburner, with plenty of chile flakes and jalapenos on top. Feel (and taste) the burn.

Jerk chicken at Country Style Jamaican Restaurant

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This two-year-old Inglewood restaurant fits the bill for anyone craving traditional Jamaican fare. While the oxtails, beef patties, goat curry, and escovich snapper are all well made, the dish to get here is the jerk chicken platter — a generous portion of peas and rice, caramelized plantains, cabbage, and chicken. Order a cold Ting soda to help offset the heat. 

Jerk chicken platter from Country Style Jamaican in Inglewood, California.
Jerk chicken at Country Style Jamaican Restaurant
Mona Homes

Torta ahogada at La Ramadita

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There are few things better than tender chunks of carnitas sandwiched between soft bollilo bread. But when your torta is drenched in a capsicum-laden chile arbol salsa, you have the sort of sandwich that turns your nose into a faucet, all while keeping you begging for more.

Spicy beef soup at Yuk Dae Jang

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With three locations across Los Angeles (Koreatown, Gardena, and San Gabriel), it’s never been easier to settle into a bowl of Yuk Dae Jang’s signature Korean beef noodle soup. The level of spice is customizable for every serving that also includes shredded beef and a choice of either curly ramen noodles or house-made “pasta.”

Jazz burger at Jitlada Thai Restaurant

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Jitlada’s menu is filled with dishes that burn so good, including the infamous dynamite challenge made with ghost peppers. But for those who prefer more balanced heat, there’s nothing better than the Jazz burger — owner Jazz Singsanong’s ode to the American classic that includes a chile-spiked beef patty served on iceberg lettuce.

Spicy eggplant dip at Spicy BBQ Restaurant

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Northern Thai cuisine is the specialty at this East Hollywood gem and the dish to get is the nam prik num — a smoky dip made from roasted chiles. To balance the flavors and heat, dig into plenty of sticky rice and fresh vegetable crudites along with it.

Spicy Eggplant Dip at Spicy BBQ Restaurant.
Spicy eggplant dip at Spicy BBQ Restaurant
Cathy Chaplin

Dukbokki at Yupdduk

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Koreatown’s dukbokki specialist is not for the weak of palate. Though one can customize the level of spice for the Korean rice cakes (mild, original, and "challenge"), the mild is hot enough to render both sweat and tears. Toppings like mozzarella cheese and fried veggies can help mitigate the heat, but be sure to order a cooling smoothie for good measure.

Suicide wings Ye Rustic Inn

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Los Feliz tavern Ye Rustic Inn is rightfully famous for its Buffalo wings — crispy, bone-in morsels that somehow taste even better in the well-worn and comfy setting. For tears of joy and pain, order the wings “suicide level” along with an extra pitcher of beer.

Nam khao tod at Night Market Song

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Chef Kris Yenbamroong’s northern Thai crispy rice salad — made with soured pork, raw ginger, and a generous smattering of bird’s eye chiles — is not for the faint of heart. A frosty Singha or two is all but guaranteed.

Hot mustard at Philippe The Original

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What’s a condiment doing on this list? Well, at French dip icon Philippe’s, the hot mustard is more than just a sideshow, it’s almost the main attraction. Don’t let the tiny squeeze bottle fool you; this is powerful stuff — nuclear enough to get noses running and eyes watering with just a drop or two. There may be no better (or spicier) mustard in Los Angeles.

Papaya salad at Lax-C

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Papaya salad can often be the spiciest dish on the Thai table. Visit the Thai vendors outside of Lax-C — an emporium for Thai ingredients in Chinatown — for a fabulous rendition of julienned green papaya salad with dried shrimp and an unbeatable spicy dressing.

Mao cai at Sichuan Impression

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The mao cai at Sichuan Impression comes loaded with prawns, vegetables (potatoes, lotus root, cauliflower, and bamboo shoots), and beef tripe in a shallow broth laced with chiles, Sichuan peppercorns, and cardamom. It’s a blazing hot dish that’s impossible to stop eating.

Mao cai at Sichuan Impression.
Mao cai at Sichuan Impression
[Official Photo]

Chongqing fried chicken at Xiang La Hui

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For boneless chicken nuggets fried to a wonderful crisp and fragrant with Sichuan peppercorns, it doesn’t get any better than the Chongqing fried chicken at Xiang La Hui. It’s amazing how the mountain of fried chicken shrinks to a lowly pile of dried chiles and peppercorns in almost no time.

A plate of fried chicken and spicy Sichuan chiles at Xiang La Hui
Chongqing fried chicken at Xiang La Hui
Wonho Frank Lee

Toothpick lamb at Chengdu Taste

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Chengdu Taste’s signature offering carefully balances heat and spice. The toothpick-speared bits of fatty lamb come dusted in a combination of cumin and chiles with plenty of fresh cilantro too. While the boiled fish with green pepper sauce is more challenging when it comes to pure heat, the lamb’s more complex profile gives it a slight edge.

Spicy chicken at Hunan Chilli King

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Sichuan cuisine has taken the San Gabriel Valley by storm in recent years, but those in the know still head to Hunan Chilli King when they can for lots (and lots) of spice. The name delivers on its premise, with diced fresh chilis living somewhere between ‘garnish’ and ‘the whole meal’ on chopped and sautéed chicken dishes and more.

Chicken lollipops at Bhanu's Indian Cuisine and Market

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Bhanu’s is a longtime favorite of SGV residents. Swing in for the chicken lollipops seasoned with nearly two dozen spices and served with a peppy house-made chutney. Ask for the spice level that includes ghost pepper for seriously hot wings.

Deviled beef at Apey Kade Restaurant

Tarzana’s Apey Kade is a Sri Lankan star, the kind of well-reviewed LA restaurant that provides comfort food for those seeking the flavors of home, and offers a burst of new flavors to those trying Sri Lankan food for the very first time. For a particular pop, try the deviled beef laced with both dried and fresh chiles, plus curry leaves and a bracing hit of lime.

Ringburner at Lucifers Pizza

As the name implies, Lucifers loves to make a spicy pizza. But real heat-seekers know to ask for the inelegantly named Ringburner, with plenty of chile flakes and jalapenos on top. Feel (and taste) the burn.

Jerk chicken at Country Style Jamaican Restaurant

This two-year-old Inglewood restaurant fits the bill for anyone craving traditional Jamaican fare. While the oxtails, beef patties, goat curry, and escovich snapper are all well made, the dish to get here is the jerk chicken platter — a generous portion of peas and rice, caramelized plantains, cabbage, and chicken. Order a cold Ting soda to help offset the heat. 

Jerk chicken platter from Country Style Jamaican in Inglewood, California.
Jerk chicken at Country Style Jamaican Restaurant
Mona Homes

Torta ahogada at La Ramadita

There are few things better than tender chunks of carnitas sandwiched between soft bollilo bread. But when your torta is drenched in a capsicum-laden chile arbol salsa, you have the sort of sandwich that turns your nose into a faucet, all while keeping you begging for more.

Spicy beef soup at Yuk Dae Jang

With three locations across Los Angeles (Koreatown, Gardena, and San Gabriel), it’s never been easier to settle into a bowl of Yuk Dae Jang’s signature Korean beef noodle soup. The level of spice is customizable for every serving that also includes shredded beef and a choice of either curly ramen noodles or house-made “pasta.”

Jazz burger at Jitlada Thai Restaurant

Jitlada’s menu is filled with dishes that burn so good, including the infamous dynamite challenge made with ghost peppers. But for those who prefer more balanced heat, there’s nothing better than the Jazz burger — owner Jazz Singsanong’s ode to the American classic that includes a chile-spiked beef patty served on iceberg lettuce.

Spicy eggplant dip at Spicy BBQ Restaurant

Northern Thai cuisine is the specialty at this East Hollywood gem and the dish to get is the nam prik num — a smoky dip made from roasted chiles. To balance the flavors and heat, dig into plenty of sticky rice and fresh vegetable crudites along with it.

Spicy Eggplant Dip at Spicy BBQ Restaurant.
Spicy eggplant dip at Spicy BBQ Restaurant
Cathy Chaplin

Dukbokki at Yupdduk

Koreatown’s dukbokki specialist is not for the weak of palate. Though one can customize the level of spice for the Korean rice cakes (mild, original, and "challenge"), the mild is hot enough to render both sweat and tears. Toppings like mozzarella cheese and fried veggies can help mitigate the heat, but be sure to order a cooling smoothie for good measure.

Suicide wings Ye Rustic Inn

Los Feliz tavern Ye Rustic Inn is rightfully famous for its Buffalo wings — crispy, bone-in morsels that somehow taste even better in the well-worn and comfy setting. For tears of joy and pain, order the wings “suicide level” along with an extra pitcher of beer.

Nam khao tod at Night Market Song

Chef Kris Yenbamroong’s northern Thai crispy rice salad — made with soured pork, raw ginger, and a generous smattering of bird’s eye chiles — is not for the faint of heart. A frosty Singha or two is all but guaranteed.

Hot mustard at Philippe The Original

What’s a condiment doing on this list? Well, at French dip icon Philippe’s, the hot mustard is more than just a sideshow, it’s almost the main attraction. Don’t let the tiny squeeze bottle fool you; this is powerful stuff — nuclear enough to get noses running and eyes watering with just a drop or two. There may be no better (or spicier) mustard in Los Angeles.

Papaya salad at Lax-C

Papaya salad can often be the spiciest dish on the Thai table. Visit the Thai vendors outside of Lax-C — an emporium for Thai ingredients in Chinatown — for a fabulous rendition of julienned green papaya salad with dried shrimp and an unbeatable spicy dressing.

Mao cai at Sichuan Impression

The mao cai at Sichuan Impression comes loaded with prawns, vegetables (potatoes, lotus root, cauliflower, and bamboo shoots), and beef tripe in a shallow broth laced with chiles, Sichuan peppercorns, and cardamom. It’s a blazing hot dish that’s impossible to stop eating.

Mao cai at Sichuan Impression.
Mao cai at Sichuan Impression
[Official Photo]

Chongqing fried chicken at Xiang La Hui

For boneless chicken nuggets fried to a wonderful crisp and fragrant with Sichuan peppercorns, it doesn’t get any better than the Chongqing fried chicken at Xiang La Hui. It’s amazing how the mountain of fried chicken shrinks to a lowly pile of dried chiles and peppercorns in almost no time.

A plate of fried chicken and spicy Sichuan chiles at Xiang La Hui
Chongqing fried chicken at Xiang La Hui
Wonho Frank Lee

Toothpick lamb at Chengdu Taste

Chengdu Taste’s signature offering carefully balances heat and spice. The toothpick-speared bits of fatty lamb come dusted in a combination of cumin and chiles with plenty of fresh cilantro too. While the boiled fish with green pepper sauce is more challenging when it comes to pure heat, the lamb’s more complex profile gives it a slight edge.

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Spicy chicken at Hunan Chilli King

Sichuan cuisine has taken the San Gabriel Valley by storm in recent years, but those in the know still head to Hunan Chilli King when they can for lots (and lots) of spice. The name delivers on its premise, with diced fresh chilis living somewhere between ‘garnish’ and ‘the whole meal’ on chopped and sautéed chicken dishes and more.

Chicken lollipops at Bhanu's Indian Cuisine and Market

Bhanu’s is a longtime favorite of SGV residents. Swing in for the chicken lollipops seasoned with nearly two dozen spices and served with a peppy house-made chutney. Ask for the spice level that includes ghost pepper for seriously hot wings.

Related Maps