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Nov 3, 2008 04:22 PM

Spiciest Food in Vancouver

Hi. I'm looking for some insanely spicy food in Vancouver for dinner tonight. I'm a bit late on the draw- but if anyone has any suggestions please let me know. Thank you!

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  1. of course it would be "alvin garden"! spiciest hunan food around:

    good luck. bring a bucket and a washcloth!

    6 Replies
    1. re: flowbee

      The food at Alvin Garden is hot hot hot. It may be closed tonight ahead.

      1. re: fmed

        Any ethnic place will rock your socks if you ask for it '(insert name here) hot'

        My pick would be Spice Islands Indonesian

        1. re: fmed

          If Alvin is closed try Szechuan House which is just a couple of blocks down on Imperial. You can ask for it "Da La" (which means "Big Heat") either place. Here's a pic of the "Boiled Beef" - tender beef swimming in hot chili oil:

          1. re: fmed

            <<< You can ask for it "Da La">>>

            Is that a step up from the ma la of Sichuan, the numbing heat?

            1. re: PolarBear

              From my understanding--

              "Ma la" just means "numb and hot." Sichuan peppercorn's numbing effect is "ma" and chile (capsaicin) heat is "la."

              "Ba la" just means "big heat" - as in "I want this dish really, really hot". I'm not sure if you can say ba ma la, though :-)

              1. re: fmed

                Oops...that's "Da" not "Ba"...

      2. Thank you! I'll check out Alvin Garden tonight (I called- thanks for the heads up fmed). I heard Green Lettuce was good for spicy too so I'll try both it and Spice Islands soon. I like food so hot that I tear up and have problems breathing. Its kind of weird. I have been to many ethic restaurants where I plead for the hottest food possible and am left pretty disappointed, but I'm excited to try these picks.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Mawson Plan

          Here a quickie review of Alvin (aka "The Xiang"):

          An SF-area Chowhound CindyN dined there with her husband a couple of months back and posted her experiences here:

          Report back!

          1. re: fmed

            The night before last night at Alvin Garden I ordered the beef in chili sauce (I asked for the spiciest that they would make it) a taro and vegetable soup, and stir fry pork with hunan pickle- described as somewhat like kimchee. Our server recommended the fish heads in chili sauce and although I was glad for the genuinely authentic suggestion I'm not ready for fish heads yet so we ordered the beef- she said it was interchangeable. The picture of the dish in the menu was promising because it looked pretty much like a bowl of chilies.

            The beef dish come out immediately after our drinks, before the rice, and smelled amazing. It was a huge portion. The soup and rice were next- the soup was grey with purple taro and something green and leafy. It was sort of beautiful and off-putting at the same time. The pork dish was basic looking and compared to the flavorful beef dish was fairly basic and salty. The soup tasted bland but somehow healthy. It may have tasted that way to me because I think taro is healthy.

            As with many (all?) Chinese places this is definitely a place for a larger group. I would go back, but next time I will get a hot pot because I noticed them on other tables and they looked good. It didn't kill me with spice quite as much as I would have hoped for so I had to have some Matouks calypso smothered on a cracker when I got home. It occurred to me that I will probably not find the heat I am looking for cooked into dishes other than competitively spiced chicken wings. I'm not a big fan of wings though so I will probably have to find foods that come with some very hot sauces along side that I can just add a lot of. Or find some secret Thai place maybe.

            One interesting thing they had at Alvin Garden was market price Chinese liquor. The server brought out the bottle so I could look at it- it was %56 alcohol and you had to buy the whole thing. I assume this was something like shoju. I opted for a beer instead. :)

            1. re: Mawson Plan

              Thanks for the update MP.

              I took home some leftovers from The Xiang once and it become more spicy the next day in the fridge. I really like the dishes that use Hunan cured ham (more like a bacon) at The Xiang...mildly spicy, but interesting nonetheless.

              Hotpots are a good way to go. The soup that clings to the items hold all the heat, though...but then you drink the soup which can get pretty hot. Also try Szechuan House just the down the road or Golden Springs in Richmond for the Boiled Beef (a Sichuan specialty)....when have finished the meat, you are left with a big pool of chilies, garlic, and oil...that stuff is quite hot.

              I'm with you on hot chicken wings - it is just heat for heat's sake....that's pretty easy to do (my wife likes to call this kind of cooking "stupid hot"). Heat that contributes to the overall flavour takes finesse.

              1. re: fmed

                You'll find what you're looking for @ Spice Islands-I know from the Indonesian sambals I've had in the past and from the evil glint of the owner when he offers to make a dish 'Indonesian hot'.

                You've been warned (!)
                It also just occured to me that Noodle Box does really spicy-their medium is much too strong for most people.

                1. re: Sam Salmon

                  Just to throw something non-Asian in the mix for fun, have you been to Dona Cata on Victoria Drive, Mawson? They have some flame beast salsas for their tasty and inexpensive tacos (try the longaniza) that might obviate the need to hit the Matouk's when you get home.

                  1. re: grayelf

                    Great rec...Dona Cata has about 10 different freshly made salsas to try. (Attached some pics below)

                    Another cuisine that can get hot is Jamaican and Carib food (owing to the use of Habanero peppers, etc.) A hot Jerk Chicken with a couple of splashes of bottled habanero sauce can get pretty hot....though I have to be honest...that is too hot for me (not in the sense that I can't handle the just overpowers every other sensory experience for me to the point where I just can't enjoy the food)

                  2. re: Sam Salmon

                    I went to Spice Islands last night and I enjoyed it. I got the 'Indonesian hot' version of the Rendang Daging and I noticed the glint. He even brought out extra hot paste later. It was not quite as hot as the food at the Xiang, but it was overall a really nice meal. The lemper starter was really nice and the owner/server was very helpful and attentive. I'll have to track down Noodle Box next! Thank you for all the help. Oh- and Dona Cata is fantastic. I went t a few weeks ago and I have a great meal. And you are right about jerk. There's a place I went to on Commercial and 4th that had a really nice very hot sauce in one of the squeeze bottles. Still- I'm onto sauce based hot food, adding sauce rather than finding a dish that is just really hot on its own.

                    1. re: Mawson Plan

                      you are a true chilihead! you must have a cupboard full of blairs and hatari bros hot sauces, like i do? ;)

                  3. re: fmed

                    Heat for heat's sake can be found in a bag of Blair's Death Rain Habanero chips. I stumbled on them while buying textbooks at the UBC bookstore. They still sell them up front at the cashiers. 2 chips in and I thought they had a great habanero taste going on and it wasn't too spicy. Then it hit. I can only eat a dozen chips before my body tells me to stop punishing it.

                    Sam's Noodle Box thoughts are up there too. I know it gets bashed around these parts. Their medium-mild makes my buddy tear up. I've finally graduated to hot and they still warn me and try to get me to change my mind. There's a lot more heat levels after "hot".