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spiciest food in Chinatown


I'm looking for the most outrageously spicy dish you can get in Chinatown. I want something that is going to put the hurt on someone.

  1. wolfe Feb 20, 2009 05:48 PM

    You could try Toronto.

    1. s
      sfbing Feb 20, 2009 06:35 PM

      z&y restaurant in Chinatown. Near Great Eastern. Try the Chongqing chicken.

      4 Replies
      1. re: sfbing
        Ruth Lafler Feb 20, 2009 06:42 PM

        Z&Y is definitely the place to go, but is the Chongquin chicken really the spiciest dish? Usually in a Sichuan restaurant that honor goes to the water-cooked/boiled beef, etc. Actually, I don't see it by that name on their menu -- I think it must be the beef with flaming chilli oil.


        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          sfbing Feb 20, 2009 06:54 PM

          You're right. Although I haven't had that at Z&Y yet. I guess if you really wanted to make someone suffer, you should order both and tack on a couples delight and a hot and spicy pot. I'm actually a big fan of the innocuously named silky tofu with fish.

          1. re: sfbing
            Ruth Lafler Feb 20, 2009 08:38 PM

            Ah, that sounds like it might be the same dish as the spicy tofu with fish fillet at China Village, which Melanie nicknamed the Red Bowl of Death when the waiter whipped the cover off the tureen and all we could see was chiles floating in chile oil.

        2. re: sfbing
          Robert Lauriston Feb 23, 2009 01:58 PM

          I think the spiciest dish I've had at Z&Y is spicy beef and chicken with chile oil.

          The Yunnan ZhangYi Chicken w/Explosive Chili Pepper should have been, given the amount of chiles, but they were those weird jalapeños with the heat bred out.

          If it doesn't have to be in Chinatown, you could get the Extremely Hot Pepper at Old Mandarin.

        3. jason carey Feb 23, 2009 01:47 PM

          I have to say that you are really looking in the wrong cuisine,, I think probably mean hot spicy and Even Sichuan cooking is not geared to that.. its aim to be spicy but not super hot..if you want really really hot , go for Authentic Thai food.. Chinese is not what you want.
          That chicken as described below has millions of hot peppers, but the chicken part is not killer hot.

          11 Replies
          1. re: jason carey
            DOUBLESPECIALNICE Feb 24, 2009 05:26 PM

            OK then what is the most painfully hot dish in San Francisco? I'd love to find a crazy hot noodle soup dish or something like that. I just can't have it be an Indian dish.

            1. re: DOUBLESPECIALNICE
              Robert Lauriston Feb 25, 2009 01:30 PM

              Thai House Express at Larkin and Geary has some seriously spicy dishes. I have a high tolerance and the bamboo shoot dish is sometimes downright painful.

              Second on the Thai Temple papaya salad. I'm the only person I know who likes the spicy version.

              Extremely Hot Pepper at Old Mandarin Islamic.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                PolarBear Feb 26, 2009 04:44 PM

                RL, I think you're on the right track. Having attended the huge Hmong New Year celebration in Fresno for several years, and being a serious chile lover (not whole habaneros) the one dish that's put the hurt on me was their Green Papaya Salad. The second year, figured I'd wise up a little and just get half the peppers added into the mortar, WRONG, still kicked my ass. I'll be back, maybe try reducing it down a little more.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  sfbing Feb 26, 2009 07:28 PM

                  This is off location, but the "Phat(tha)lung-style spicy, tumeric-flavoured dry curry" at Jitlada in Los Angeles was phenomenally painful and tasty. I have an extremely high tolerance and two pieces were enough to send me running to the raw cabbage. Yet, I kept going back for more. Sadly, there isn't a Thai place quite as crazy good in SF.
                  If you're ever in LA, I highly recommend the place.

                  1. re: sfbing
                    Robert Lauriston Feb 27, 2009 08:25 AM

                    Arguably worth a trip to LA.


                    So far as I know, none of the Thai restaurants around here make those southern regional dishes. Thai House Express is comparable in quality, maybe even better, but no spicy fish kidney curry.

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston
                    srr Feb 26, 2009 10:39 PM

                    I agree about the bamboo shoot salad. We ordered it "spicy", with authority, the first time we were there, and I had a hard time eating it. I eat habaneros and thai bird chilis regularly, and I was challenged.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      Robert Lauriston Mar 15, 2009 02:42 PM

                      Lers Ros's papaya salad is as spicy as the Berkeley Thai temple's.

                      Lers Ros Thai
                      730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

                    2. re: DOUBLESPECIALNICE
                      bradluen Feb 25, 2009 03:14 PM

                      Not a restaurant, and I haven't tried them because I top out at serranos, but there's a guy in Bayview-Hunter's Point who makes hot sauces out of jolokias:


                      (If your purpose is literally to "put the hurt on someone", this is overkill. One should not use an H-bomb to kill an ant.)

                      1. re: bradluen
                        EnderWiggin Feb 26, 2009 08:29 PM

                        I've had Dave's ultimate insanity sauce and one drop numbed my tongue for atleast 10 minutes (i think habaneros are primarily used in that one).

                        I wonder what the jolokia private reserve would do. numb my tongue for 20 minutes? don't think I want to feel the pain of the ghost pepper

                    3. re: jason carey
                      sfbing Feb 25, 2009 12:53 PM

                      The problem is actually finding an authentic Thai place in SF that will make the food that hot for you.

                      Also, how hot is hot for the OP? One person's mildly spicy is someone else's so hot it is inedible experience.

                      Some ideas:
                      1. Get korean tofu stew at My Tofu House (i prefer Pyungchang in Oakland) and tell your server you want it EXTRA HOT, like two steps hotter than they usually make it.

                      2. Get papaya salad at the Berkeley Thai Temple on Sunday and insist you want it extra spicy. Just keep saying "more" as she adds the chili flakes to the mortar. It helps if you look thai.

                      3. If the person you are punishing happens to be Indian, Sichuan may still be a good choice. I took a South Indian to Great Szechuan and she had a very strong and uncomfortable reaction to the Sichuan peppercorns in the spicy fish soup.

                      1. re: sfbing
                        adrienne156 Feb 25, 2009 03:32 PM

                        Agree with number 3. The Spicy Boiled Beef at China Village (ordered spicy) had me teary-eyed and sweating.

                    4. intomeat Feb 23, 2009 03:28 PM

                      In terms of Chines food, I wonder why Old Mandarin Islamic's plate o' death has not been mentioned. Probably because it's not in Ctown.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: intomeat
                        wally Feb 23, 2009 04:08 PM

                        See the post by Robert Lauriston in this chain.

                      2. Chandavkl Feb 23, 2009 03:31 PM

                        Chinatown is mostly Cantonese cuisine. The Cantonese idea of spicy food is to throw in a bell pepper or sprinkle a little ground pepper in the food. That's why Z&Y is the only one of the 150 Chinatown restaurants mentioned in this thread.

                        1. little big al Feb 23, 2009 07:44 PM

                          No particular dish specifically but the Hunan on Sansome street can provide some real "scotchahs". I remember once sitting next to a table of Indian businessmen who insisted they liked things "berry berry hot" and got served some dishes that made them sweat gumdrops. They seemed to enjoy it immensely. Also very intense smoked ham and duck. Like Smithfield squared.

                          1. c
                            carfeng Feb 26, 2009 03:42 PM

                            I think the reason why is: "I want something that is going to put the hurt on someone."

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: carfeng
                              chilihead2006 Mar 15, 2009 03:18 PM

                              Then try the green papaya salad at Ruen Pair in Albany. I stoop to nobody when it comes to my ability to handle spicy hot food, but the GPS at Ruen Pair will put a serious hurt on anyone, especially if you tell them you want it hot. You've been warned. :)

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