Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > New Jersey >
Aug 24, 2010 01:31 PM

Spicy challenges

Hello. I am looking for any and all spicy food challenges in the New Jersey area. I'm familiar with the suicide 6 wings in brooklyn and the spicy curry in manhattan. Looking for others. Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Boy oh boy, did this post come at the right time. I was just about to create a separate post for one of the best new restaurants in Bergen County: Buffalo's Chicken Shack in Wood-Ridge. They're having a spicy wing challenge on Sat. Aug. 28, sponsored by... ZANTAC! There are applications in the store. I think there's a $10 entry fee and you have to sign a waiver. Miles, the owner/chef, is preparing some monster spicy wings for this one.

    Info is available here:

    I'll post a more detailed review when I have a little more time but in a nutshell: this place has some of the best buffalo wings, fried chicken, chicken and waffles and macaroni and cheese in Northern NJ. Wings are very large and prices are very reasonable. Miles is a super friendly chef/owner as well who really knows his stuff. (Good mac & cheese is finally available from a restaurant in Bergen County! REJOICE!!!) Get yourselves down to 261 Hackensack Street in Wood Ridge and check this place out.

    Chicken Shack
    1005 Bergen St, Newark, NJ 07112

    11 Replies
    1. re: zhelder

      Never understood the concept of establishments promoting food that they guarantee will make patrons sick. I like majorly spicy food myself, but if there is no attempt at preparing food with good flavor, what is the point? I don't understand the concept of food being a "challenge."

      1. re: zhelder

        How about the "911" Hot WINGs (must sign a waiver) at Cluck-U Chicken?
        I've been to the Eatontown rt36 location a few times....

        1. re: Tapas52

          I like really hot food, and agree that heat without flavor is a waste.

          A quick aside; one of my top ten all time worst meals was at the Cluck-U on Rt-88 in Brick.
          I just realized, three of those ten experiences were elsewhere on Rt--88 in Brick.

          1. re: rickster71

            I agree I had some very bad food at Cluk U in the past also and have since havnt been there .....but my suggestion was based on a HEAT ONLY perspective "911"......

            Places like El Oaxaqueno 3 in Long Branch on Memorial pkwy has great authentic Mexican food and baby they can put on the heat for sure in some of their great dishes just for the asking.. !!!

            1. re: Tapas52

              What dishes in El Oaxaqueno 3 would you recommend for extra heat?

            2. re: rickster71

              The super hot wings at Cluck U are a prime example of the devotion to sheer heat over flavor. They are made using capsaicin extract sauces that use solvents to concentrate the heat from peppers into a mind numbing, tongue blistering product.

              Problem is, this process does not extract anything in the way of good flavor from the peppers. In the brief moment before the screeching heat manifests itself the main flavor that is evident has been described by many Chileheads as a bitterness they imagine would be comparable to singed cat hair.

              The one and only time I purchased these wings I quickly became wary of the outcome when the fumes from the wings in my car started my nose and eyes watering before I even got home...

              1. re: equal_Mark

                Real "HOTHEADS" tolerate heat differently then most regardless of flavor they want HOT HOT HOT!!! I guess its a macho thing?

                To answer your question most of teh real authentic dishes at El Oaxaqueno 3 are seasoned perfectly, where as many of the fresh ingredients peppers etc are already spicy....but just ask them to make it a bit more hot and they will oblige..additionally they have two really good FRESH MADE
                Salsas Verde ( Green, and the MUCH hotter Rosa ( Red ) which are both different but will add significant HEAT to your dishes for sure...

                1. re: Tapas52

                  Well, I guess I could be considered a "Hothead" (Prefer "Chilehead" tho). If you Google "Hot Spicy Food" I'll be there... (listed as =Mark). Most of those within this lifestyle still prefer good flavor along with the heat.

                  May actually get to try a sit-down at El Oaxaqueno 3 now that the heat of the food may no longer be eclipsed by the actual indoor temp of the dining room. :-)

                  For really good flavor and fairly blistering heat I really like Mie Thai in Woodbridge, though to be fair I had to talk to Richard the owner about being served the Thai Hot stuff. They have had macho "You can't make it too hot for me" idiots end up sending food back to the kitchen they could not handle. Ever since getting to know them, if a server tries to warn me that something is really hot I can tell them "Richard says it's OK," and they generally smile, nod and bring on the fire...

                  Mie Thai
                  34 Main St, Woodbridge, NJ 07095

                  1. re: equal_Mark

                    Mark it's getting cooler...I think you'll have some nice choices at El Oaxaqueno and a much enjoyable in house dinner experience...try all the homemade drinks they have also like the Horchata, and the Melon, ....enjoy. I myself have only begun to start trying all the dishes they have little by little.

                    1. re: equal_Mark

                      +1 against heat without flavor. By all means, set my mouth afire, but, please, do it with style. I mean, nobody unwids after a long day with a snifter of Everclear.

                      1. re: MGZ

                        Heck no! You gotta mix it with grape kool-aid!

          2. This same topic has been raging for over a week on the "Serious Eats" forum; felt that this was a reasonable statement regarding upping the heat tolerance:


            "I couldn't have seen any point in this before my most recent trip to Asia, but after that I could definitely see how having a bit more tolerance would have helped me enjoy some dishes that I could tell were wonderful and flavorful underneath the distracting burning and pain. That said, I know I would NOT enjoy having my every meal be spicy just so I can eat spicier foods now and then--I want my spaghetti sauce to be authentically Italian, not spiked with siracha, you know? But there doesn't seem to be any way to do this by halves.

            And as for people who have convinced themselves they don't like spicy food--I'm sorry, it's boring. I tried dating a guy who was like this, and every time we went out to eat it was always a battle not to have to go to a steak house or an Italian place or a French place. And even if I got him to give in, he'd of course order the most boring chicken dish on the menu--and then not enjoy it, because guess what? It's a boring chicken dish--and then refuse to go back, taking this as some affirmation that Thai food isn't for him. No one should have to build up their tolerance to spice to enjoy food, but no one should unilaterally refuse a certain cuisine on the off-chance that it might be spicy, either."

            klw07 at 6:27PM on 08/25/10

            6 Replies
            1. re: equal_Mark

              If anyone is interested in the science of how the phenomenon of how heat and pain are perceived, here is the short answer (its my job :)

              Heat compounds, capsaicin would be an example, act on two different but related neuroceptor types in the mouth, the warm thermoreceptor (giving a feeling of warmth) and the VR1 pain receptor (giving a pain feeling)

              The longer the compound is in contact with the receptors, the less the response, giving a tolerance for the pungency (desensitization).

              Ironically, the complete opposite is true for cold or cooling. You never adapt or fatigue to cold. Ever walk into a room or movies with the ac cranked all the way down. You never adapt to that, unless you grab a sweater.
              Mo more science lessons, I promise :)

                1. re: equal_Mark

                  Last night on man Vs Food Adam Richmond was at the Jersey shore....First Maruca's in Seaside Park Boardwalk for Pizza, then Hoffman's ice cream In Pt Pleasant Beach....then for the "LUDICROUS HOT CHICKEN WINGS CHALLENGE"...unbelievably he won it....! They were so hot he wouldnt even eat them opff the bone but instead pulled the meat off with a fork and then ate it that way to avoid face burning...attached is the HEAT menu Meter...



                2. re: tom246

                  Thanks, Tom – interesting stuff indeed. In fact, it lends “real” foundation to my observed belief that exploration of the flavors of spicy food, like that of say spirits or teas, are a “next level” of taste appreciation. Ultimately, one needs the desensitization to permit the ability to truly taste the otherwise masked nuances.

                  I suppose that the inability to desensitize to cold is why cold food has less flavor? A refrigerated tomato comes to mind as example first, but hiding mediocre beer behind an icy cold temperature is another.

                  We’ve probably hijacked this thread enough, but your comments would probably be appreciated on others I’ve read. e.g.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    Hi MGZ, just noticed your reply. The science of neuroreceptors and thier effect on sensory perception is fascinating. We could have a long converstion on this.

                    Your partially correct on why cold food seems to have less flavor. Cold reduces the vapor pressure of volatile compounds in the natural food or flavored food thus limiting ones ability to accurately perceive the aroma (flavor). Its one of the reasons ice cream has little to no volatile aroma :)

                    Maybe one day a few of us interested in this wacky science can get together and talk about it. I could also bring along a couple of simple test samples that show how this works.

                    1. re: tom246

                      Indeed, I am fascinated by the "process" of tasting/eating, particularly as it pertains to the production of pleasure/displeasure. The underlying sciece. The interaction among the various senses that impact upon the experience. The psychological factors that may, shall we say, affect taste interpretations. To me, it's one of those areas where the sum is not only greater, but somehow different, than the sum of the parts, and even the parts are not fully understood.

              1. Szechuan House on Rt. 33 in Hamilton. I recommend the Three Pepper Chicken. Delicious, crispy morsels of chicken with just as much sliced garlic and whole red dried peppers. Also the mungbean noodles. And pretty much anything in their "szechuan vinaigrette"

                They don't dumb it down, that's for sure. And it's that luscious heat aided by szechuan peppercorns. YUM!

                Szechuan House
                2022 Nottingham Way, Trenton, NJ 08619

                2 Replies
                1. re: sadiefox

                  By any chance have you been to Fortune Cookie in Bridgewater? It's Hunan and said to be the real thing.


                  1. re: ambrose

                    No but it sounds really really good!

                2. Funny, I was going to chime in and say that I've never been able to tolerate (okay, make that ENJOY) food that was extremely spicy, but a good friend finally convinced me to try some hotter Sichuan dishes, explaining that the heat from the Sichuan peppercorns dissipates differently from, say, a really hot jalapeno. And you know what? He was right! I now LOVE spicy Sichuan food, and although I'm still not able to enjoy megaatomicfirebreathing wings, nor do I munch on hot peppers, I do enjoy spicier food a lot more than ever! As long as I can still *taste* it...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Curlz

                    Yes, it is a different type of heat than the kind that capsaicin (what makes hot peppers hot) provides. Although Three Pepper Chicken has both :)

                    My husband and I have a carefully cultivated tolerance for spicy foods. We like to impress the waiters at Szechuan House. They say "you order like Chinese" :)

                    Szechuan House
                    2022 Nottingham Way, Trenton, NJ 08619

                    1. re: sadiefox

                      Its a combination of both warming and "tingling" compounds.
                      Cuisines that use spices having this effect are Szechuan chinese using Szechuan pepper (the fruit of the prickly ash tree) – also used in Japanese cooking as ‘sanshu’. A spice from Mexico – ‘chilcuan’ is used in local cuisine as an alternative to chilis. There are several other examples.

                      What is so interesting about this effect is the tingling is an interruption of ones nerve endings. Exactly the same effect as when your arm "falls asleep" and you get pins and needles as you move it, the same phenomenon happens to your tongue when you consume the ingredients above!!