of America’s Most Insanely Spicy Dishes
Can you handle the heat?
Forget mouth-watering. We’re spicing things up with dishes that are downright mouth-numbing.
In celebration of International Hot & Spicy Food Day (January 16th), the Foodgōd team rounded up fifteen of the most fiery feasts from across the country. Serious heat seekers who love intensely bold flavors—and can brave lip-tingling, chili-inducing sweats—should give ’em a try.
Worth the tears? You be the judge.
Chongqing Chicken Wings
Mission Chinese Food, NYC & San Francisco
When Danny Bowien’s San Francisco hotspot popped up in the Lower East Side in 2012, spicy food lovers rejoiced. Mission Chinese is known for its extremely fiery cuisine including these signature fried chicken wings rubbed in Szechuan chilies and cumin that will leave your lips burning. They’re also crazy addictive, if you manage to get through more than two.
Ugly Baby, Brooklyn, NY
A colorful new Thai spot in Brooklyn is serving up dishes that pack a serious punch. Ugly Baby’s spiciest plate, Kua Kling, is a Thai-style dry shank beef curry covered in bird chilies, peppercorns, and kaffir lime. The menu gives you fair warning: it’s brutally spicy.
XX Hot Chicken
Pepperfire Hot Chicken, Nashville, TN
Nashville and hot chicken are pretty much synonymous, and this iconic spot serves some of the city’s spiciest fried bird. They offer varying degrees of heat, but their hella fiery XX Hot will leave you wishing you had gone with Mild.
Brick Lane Curry House, New York City
Get yourself on Brick Lane‘s “P’hall of Fame” if you finish this insanely hot curry. Legend has it that this intense sauce is made from ten different ground up chilies and the tears of Satan. Warning: you’ll have to sign a disclaimer first. And grab extra napkins because your nose will run and your forehead will sweat—a lot.
Spicy and Tingly Lamb Face Salad
Xi’an Famous Foods, NYC
NYC’s Northern Chinese cuisine standby may be most famous for their variety of aromatic lamb dishes on offer. Heat seekers should dig into the spicy and tingly lamb face salad: a multi-textured plate packed with various head cuts, like cheek and tongue, plus sprouts, celery, and cucumber—all doused in a spicy, mouth-numbing sauce that’s chock full of cumin, roasted chili oil, and Sichuan pepper. Tongue tingling yet?
Chiles Toreados Taco
Guisados, Los Angeles, CA
One of DTLA’s notoriously tasty taco shops does not mess around when it comes to spice. Their Chiles Toreados variety features a feverish concoction of habanero, jalapeños, and Thai chilies blended together over high heat. You better like it hot as hell because there are no adjustments or substitutes on this taco.
Spicy Soup Broth
Little Sheep, Houston, TX
At Houston’s Mongolian hot pot joint, Little Sheep, you can dip your meats and veggies into a bubbling cauldron of aromatic broth that’s jam packed with dried red chilis—36 to be exact. The flavors are incredibly intense and the longer you let the spicy peppers simmer, the more scorching the soup becomes.
Four Horseman Burger
Chunky’s, San Antonio, TX
You must be all shades of loco to try the Four Horseman Burger from Chunky’s in San Antonio. The world famous food challenge burger is basically a hot pepper party—made with fresh jalapeños, serranos, a habanero sauce, and a ghost pepper—that comes with rubber gloves for competitors to wear and a chuck bucket for hurling. But why, people!?
Thai-Kun, Austin, TX
They say everything’s bigger in Texas, but in this case, some things are hotter, too. Like Thai-Kun‘s signature papaya salad—a fiery mix of green papaya, fermented crab, cherry tomatoes, fish sauce, shrimp paste, lime, peanuts, and a heaping amount of Thai chilies. It’s hands-down the spiciest dish in Austin, and maybe the entire state (pro tip: keep a glass of milk nearby).
Great Balls Of Fire
Salvador Molly’s, Portland, OR
You’ll need tastebuds of steel to tackle the hardcore eating challenge at Salvador Molly’s. If you can finish five hot habanero cheese fritters (aptly named Great Balls of Fire) with all the Sunshine & Pain sauce, you get your picture on the Wall of Flame. But make sure you have your affairs in order first—they make you sign a waiver should you not leave the table alive.
Tolbert’s Restaurant, Grapevine, TX
This tiny town outside of Dallas is known for its award-winning bowl of red chili from Tolbert’s. The original Texas-style recipe is chock full of intensely hot chili peppers, cumin, and cayenne—and will have you begging for a glass of cold milk to wash it down with.
Ramen Tatsu-ya, Austin, TX
Ramen Tatsu-ya brings an authentic ramen experience to Austin, with bowls featuring rich, aromatic broth, freshly-made noodles, and classic ingredients. Spice lovers will want to go bold and order the “Fire in a Bowl bomb” add-on—a potent Thai chile and habanero chile paste that’s straight FIYAH.
Boston Burger Company, Boston, MA
Known for their innovative burgers, this casual American eatery is a citywide favorite. Their spiciest menu item is a saucy 8-ounce burger covered in cheddar cheese, homemade habanero salsa, and Sriracha mayo. It may seem unassuming at first, but the slow burn is relentless.
Nitally’s, St. Petersburg, FL
The Inferno Soup at Nitally’s Thai-Mex in St. Pete is essentially a big bowl o’ fire. Made with a dozen of the world’s all-time hottest chiles—including Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, and ghost peppers—this gargantuan 48-ounce bowl of liquid lava is no joke. Heatheads can attempt to take it down for a cash prize, but beware: it took two years before someone successfully finished this scorcher.
Ghost Pepper Wings
Hot Sauce and Panko, San Francisco, CA
This hot sauce retailer and takeout wing shop in Nob Hill slings some seriously intense chicken. Their hottest spice blend was already loaded with tear-jerking ghost peppers, but it was recently amped up with the Scoville scale-busting Carolina Reaper. Lord have mercy.
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