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Spiciest dishes in L.A.?

I nominate the BBQ beef salad at Yai (if you ask them to make Thai-style!), the nam prik oom (sp?) at Sri Siam and several dishes at Renu Nakorn. The long-gone, much-missed Sri Lankan restaurant Chamika Catering had a spicy "deviled meat," and Szechuan hotpot never disappoints. I'm trying Chung King for the first time tonight, so I'll probably have new contenders soon. What dishes do YOU count on to pack the heat?

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  1. The seafood stew (haemul tang) at Ka-San on Foothill near Pennsylvania, in La Crescenta. If you order it "Korean spicy" it's unbelievably hot -- and yet flavourful and actually a little bit sweet.

    1. The mustard at Phillipe's does a nice job....

      1. Bombay Cafe offers two "frankies." The lamb frankie is probably the spiciest thing I eat intentionally and repeatedly, tummy trouble be damned. I recommend pre-emptive antacid before ordering.

        1. orochon ramen in little tokyo

          i've never had it but "special 2" is the pinnacle of spiciness. i couldn't even handle regular 2, which is 3 levels lower. eat at your own risk.

          if you finish the bowl of special 2 within 30min, you get a polaroid on the wall of fame.


          1 Reply
          1. re: zack


            Special level 2 is less a food item and more like a witch's brew that can make the devil himself (herself?) shiver with fear ...

          2. Almost anything I have ever had at Oriental Pearl on Valley Blvd. in San Gabriel's retail annex to the Hilton Hotel complex should qualify.
            Likewise, your experience tonight at Chung King should be enlightening. Hope to get there next week to compare notes.

            1. Almost anything at Crown Cafe in San Gabriel. The English name for one dish is "Fried Spice on Spicy". We've never dared order it. My husband finishes dinner there looking like he's run a marathon.

              2 Replies
              1. re: judybird

                I loved Fried Spicy with Spicy. I understand the Crown Cafe owners are looking for a new space to reopen.

                1. re: Ciao Bob

                  Yeah, the "Spicy over Spicy" was good, but not as good as the "Spicy under Spicy" (which was only on the chinese menu).

                  Both are far better than "Spicy next to Spicy," which we used to get when I was a kid. Remember the song from the commerical? ("Spicy next to spicy / ain't-a she-a nicey? / serve it over ricey / daily eat it twicey")

                  In all seriousness, though, the hottest thing I ever encountered at Crown Cafe was this innocuous-looking shredded green cabbage dish. Absolutely blistering, and vinegary too, so the capsaicin drills into your mouth and sticks there like it's napalm. Nobody else at our table of eight could eat more than a single bite of it.

                  The Hunan restaurant we like now (on Valley, south side, east of San Gabriel Blvd., in the "Lu's Garden" shopping center) made this scorching-hot dish of chopped on-choy stems (which are little green hollow tubes) mixed with identically chopped thai chilis (which are little green hollow tubes). This should have almost been a condiment, not an entree. I can't order this dish again, so I don't know whether they still make it the same way; other things I have enjoyed at this place have been inconsistantly executed on subsequent visits.

              2. Is the Crown Cafe still there? I read a J Gold article about a new place at 1000 S San Gabriel at "the former site of the crown cafe". Is it closed or has it moved? They certainly knew how to make spicy food.

                The pepper something at Akbar's in the marina was intensely spicy as well. It's the only dish with a 5 star rating on the menu.

                1. Shrimp topo lo bompo, full spicy, at Babita Mexicuisine (1823 S. San Gabriel Blvd., San Gabriel, (626) 288-7265). Extremely spicy.

                  1. Chung King is at 1000 San Gabriel Blvd. For spicy hot try just about anything on the menu!!! We had lunch there yesterday and the ONLY dish that was not really hot was the Crispy Rice Chicken. The Spicy Chicken will bring tears to your eyes. Even the Spare Ribs Baked in Salt were spicy. They were serving Duck Heads on the cold salad bar. They resempled cold skinned chicken legs, but with little slits where the eye sockets were. In deference to poor old donald duck, couldn't bring myself to try it.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sassille

                      I was at that same lunch and I'm in total agrement with the cold spicy chicken we ordered. I was actually glad that we ordered the Rice Crust with the chicken, because it was a good palate cleanser in between sampling from the various hot dishes we ordered.


                      1. re: pleasurepalate

                        Click the link below to see the picture of the cold spicy chicken at Chung King:



                    2. The mapo tofu at Yung Gui Garden (just up Garvey from Chung King) is pretty mind-expanding. You get both the red pepper heat and the szechuan peppercorn tongue-numb thing going. 'Spicy on Spicy' lives up to its name and for thrill-seekers there's a firecracker chicken gizzard not listed in the English side of the menu.

                      1. It's comaprable to Yai but the green papaya salad at the Wat Thai Temple on the weekends may just be a notch hotter if you request it spicy.

                        1. the beef salad w/ galangal at swan restaurant in sherman oaks.

                          it will make you cry. :)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ray9x

                            Is this the restaurant at Sherman Way and Bellaire, along the NoHo "Thai Gulch"? (It wouldn't shock me to learn that there were two Swan Thai restaurants in the Valley.)

                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                              i believe so! next to the jack in the box, right?

                          2. If anyone knows of a srilankan place - that would be where to go. I've had some dishes ordered hot and I was sure I was going to die.

                            That said - BEst Szechwan on Garfield or Oriental Pearl will serve you a "water boiled" (Shui zhu I think) dish that will leave you seriously spiced out (if we mean hot and chilis forspicy and not just a wide variety of spices).

                            Also, the Hunan restaurant on colima in rowland heights will be spicy enough to change your life.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Jerome

                              I think this is the only Sri Lankan place in LA. I went awhile ago and it was good and cheap.
                              Curry Bowl Sri Lankan Cuisine in Tarzana